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Know Your Saturday Night Live Role and Shut Your Mouth <#1> - "The Superstar"....

Before the holidays, I started a series called "Know Your Role and Shut Your Mouth", a typecasting project designed to use typecasting to define the different types of employees in your organization.  I liked the title, but wasn't having enough fun with the content, so I'm back with the series, but adding a little twist. 

To make it more topical, I'm giving you my take on which Saturday Night Live cast members (all-time) fit the typecast in question, then comparing and contrasting Eddie Murphy and Tina Fey to the similar role your employees play in your organization.  We'll do a typecast for the following SNL/your employee typecasts - Superstar, All-Star, Journeyman, Role Player, Gritty Overachiever, Project and Scrub.   Live from the Capitalist, It's Saturday Night!!!

Typecast Description - "The Superstar"

1. Who best fits the "Superstar" typecast in the history of Saturday Night Live? (limit of 6Saturday Night Live Rolling Stone Cover for purposes of this exercise) - Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, John Belushi, Will Ferrell, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Adam Sandler.  I'm sure you'll disagree.  Remember, I've still got to work through the lessor roles in the history of Saturday Night Live.  Your favorite's probably a Gritty Overachiever or Journeyman in my eyes.

2. What's it take to reach Superstar status at Saturday Night Live? Dude, it takes more than a good recurring skit mocking a president for 3 years.  To qualify for Superstar status in the halls of SNL, you've got to be the cornerstone of SNL for multiple years, but then - and this is the tricky part - you've got to go on to greater commercial success and transcend the SNL game.

Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler were cornerstones for many years on the show, then transcended the SNL game with success in movies.  John Belushi gets a wild card berth here for doing good work on the show, Animal House and the Blues Brothers, and... well, being John Belushi.

The tough part about the definition?  It's tough to be gender inclusive with this one, since few females have hit the movie jackpot post-SNL.  That's why I've included Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  She wasn't a cornerstone on the show, but playing Elaine on Seinfeld qualifies her for the SNL hall of fame, and for superstar status.

3. What's proof that these individuals made it to that level? Interestingly enough, you can't measure SNL superstar status until they leave and see what they do away from 30 Rock.

4. How do you know one of your employees is a Superstar? Here's where it gets interesting.  When you compare and contrast the typecast of the SNL superstar vs. the superstar in your company, there are similarities and differences.  The Superstar in your company doesn't have to be C-level and can exist in any department and at any level.

Regardless of level in your company, Superstars are typified by two major things that make them different.  First, they have performance attributes related to breadth and depth of skill sets that make them different.  They're better than their peers at the work you are having them do right now.  They naturally separate themselves from the pack in this regard.  Secondly, they are forward-looking and look for ways to bring other disciplines and perspectives to their work.  They like to think about how topics like marketing, engineering and PR relate to their work and apply it.  It's this curiosity that will take them places and provide Superstar-like success in the future.  It's what separates the Superstar from the pack.

5. How do you hire a potential Superstar for your company?  What do you look for?  You still need them to do the job you're hiring them for, so you look for breadth and depth of skill sets you need for the job first.  The key in recognizing the superstar?  Look for all the stuff on the side that they've done that other candidates haven't. The projects and interests that they've brought to past work that you consider non-essential may be the key in recognizing the Superstar.  It's those interests and projects that you don't necessarily need, but that they do anyway, that typify the curiosity, drive and creativity necessary to reach Superstar status. 

6. What's the best way to retain the Superstar at your company?  Tough one.  The curiosity of the Superstar is tough to deal with in the normal organization when you've got to get the work done.  Retain the superstar today by making an agreement they can work on whatever they want (linked to their core job in some capacity) for one day a week as long as all the other work gets done.  Retain them tomorrow by promoting them and giving them an increasing ability to work across functions and use their creativity.  Retaining them long term?  Good luck. It's a dice role because they will become bored and want something completely fresh.  It's in their DNA.

7. Complete the following sentence.  "The performance of the Superstar in my company is like that SNL skit where _________"...  Adam Sandler's "Lunch Lady Land".  It's where the Superstar is faced with a problem (in Sandler's case, they needed to fill five minutes of airtime),  they brainstorm and come up with a solution that no one else on the team, perhaps in the company, could duplicate.  They're money in this regard, and you come to expect it.

8. Best example of employee performance at the Superstar level in your company...Anything where the Superstar brings something from other parts of their life, pop-culture or another functional area to solve a problem and blows everyone away.

Example - A superstar Financial Analyst (any level) is tired of people groaning about the reforecasting process, so he bootstraps a video mocking himself and the department in a creative way to launch the process.  Result - everyone's laughing and tricked into being engaged and responsive on a project they hate, because the Superstar made it feel different.  Advantage - Superstar.

Preferred SNL Clip from the Superstar Class:  "Lunch Lady Land" by Sandler, "Talladega Nights Outtakes" by Ferrell... (note - hard, if not impossible, to find SNL clips since NBC shut down the historic fun on youtube...) 



Good post.

Minor nitpick: Steve Martin was never a cast member on SNL.

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