Shining Stars

Once upon a time, I started a little holiday tradition that become known as the “Schmieder Foundation Dinner.”  This event was normally at a divey Italian joint, and the attendees were our staff, interns, and their spouses/dates.  I paid for this annual event out of my pocket rather than bill it to the sports commission, thusly the event bore my name.

One year at the dinner, one of our past interns we had invited to join us said, “We (the intern team) don’t know why you treat us so well.  You look out for us more than the other people we have worked for.”  They then asked, “Why?”  My response was simple, “Because I may ask you for a job someday.”

My response drew some laughter and a few eye rolls.  However, in 2008 it actually happened.  A former intern of mine was working at the Phoenix Sports Commission when there was a staffing change.  He called me in Denver, and also told their Board Chairman that I may be interested in moving back to Arizona.  The wheels were set in motion, my career path changed, and our family’s trajectory was altered in a very positive way.  All due to an intern that we looked out for years earlier.

Another example.  My wife Sharon has a vast background in restaurant marketing for national chains.  At one time she was working for one of the largest seafood chains in the country, reporting directly to the CEO.  That CEO took a similar path in how he helped his staff grow professionally.  He supported them at every turn, and helped his team get to where they wanted to be professionally, be it in his organization or somewhere else.  When my wife asked him about it one day, he had a similar response to the one I gave my intern, “I help my people because down the road they may be able to help me when I need it.”  Guess what.  A few years after Sharon had left the company, that CEO was looking to transition, and his resume landed on Sharon’s desk.  The CEO had helped her, so she did everything she could to help him. 

The takeaways here are pretty simple…..

·       Promote your superstars.

·       Invest in them.

·       Give them opportunity, with your company or somewhere else.

There is an old saying, “Be careful whose toes you step on today, they might be attached to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow.”  Better yet, how about “Be good to those around you today, for they will return the favor tomorrow.”

It doesn’t cost much to give people the support they need to thrive.  Create an environment where your followers can grow now, and they may change your life’s path in the future.  It has worked for me in a profoundly positive way.  And even if something like that doesn’t happen for you, why not promote your stars anyway to see how great they can be?