I'm from Missouri and a St. Louis pro sports fan. In case you missed it, Cardinal great (pro baseball) Albert Pujols has left the Cardinals at the age of 32, signing a 10 year deal worth $254 Million with the Los Angeles Angels.
It's a much different reaction than what happened in Cleveland when Lebron James opted to "take his talents to South Beach". The reaction should be different, because the situations are dramatically different.
It all comes down to replacement cost, your brand and the profitability line.
Lebron James was a mega-star in a superstar-driven league. The Cleveland Cavaliers couldn't replace him if he left. Cleveland as a sports town is a wasteland, a place where no free agent wants to dwell. Lose Lebron in Cleveland, you're not getting back to the top. Ever.
The Cardinal franchise is something entirely different. Lots of world championships before Pujols arrived. A great baseballl town and region where veterans want to play to bask in fan support all summer long.
Baseball is a sport where you need 20 contributors, and no one player can domineer the action - unlike basketball.
What would you do if Ed in Accounting told you he wouldn't be back in 2012 unless you gave him a 3 year deal giving him a annual 60% bump in comp?
Hit the bricks, Ed. You're replaceable.
What about Stan, your top sales pro? He's not coming back in 2012 unless you double his total comp and guarantee it for 4 years. He's a great revenue producer, careful....
You've got 4 other reps that are near quota. Stan's great, but you lose money on that comp structure. Don't let the door hit you on the butt on the way out, Stan.
Countering the star comes down to 3 things:
1. What's the total comp point where the revenue/performance the star provides goes into the red?
2. How strong is your organization? Can you recruit good talent in to replace the star? Is your brand good enough where others want to work for you?
3. Is there anyone else that can come close to doing what the star does?
Cleveland had no other options, thus the total freak out when Lebron left. St. Louis is pretty quiet in comparson the day after Albert took his talents to SoCal.
Is your organization like the Cavs or Cardinal nation?