It takes a village to be a rockstar…

This will be the first post where personal experience trumps interesting posts in the news.  If you are a rockstar (or an aspiring rockstar) in your organization, this will have meaning for your career advancement.

Here is a story about a wonderful pediatrician in a horribly managed office.  When my wife and I found out we were expecting, the hunt for the “right pediatrician” began.  Based on a recommendation from a friend, we interviewed this stellar pediatrician at a small practice not far from where we live.  This pediatrician grew up outside the US and had many doctors in her family, which influenced her heavily to enter medicine.  During the interview, she was flawless, charming, knowledgable and her little accent gave a sense that were part of a special movie to be filmed when our son was born.

When our son was born, she delivered on that promise.  Over the 7  months that we got to know our pediatrician, she was completely present every time we saw her.  She was the classic definition of a “rockstar.” High-performing in her role, assuring to her audience with each piece of advice, kind to our specific needs, anticipated our questions and brought a calming prescence.

There was only one issue: her surroundings.  Each time we entered the office (every 1 or 2 months) we would notice a brand new set of front desk people and nurses. Similar to Bill Murray’s Groundhogs Day, we felt as if someone new was always being trained, and there was a clear lack of institutional knowledge. Wait times got longer and longer with each passing visit.  Each time we needed immunization shots (sometimes 3 or 4 at each visit), there was always a shot missing.  This meant we needed to come back for that final shot at another scheduled appointment.  While the front desk promised they would call us when it was ready, it was always our initiative to remind them of when the shots were available.  Finally, our daycare’s license was being held hostage as our son’s shot intervals were delayed due to missing immunization inventories.  My wife and I could no longer turn a blind eye.  No matter how much we loved our pediatrician, we needed to leave the practice.

How many of you are operating in environments where you feel sabotaged? Where YOU are doing amazing work, but your team is dysfunctional?  Or there are no systems and controls in place? Does your work seem as if the simple gets complicated and the complicated becomes impossible?  The end results are that deadlines are missed, objectives are ignored and customers are lost.

Additionally, when you are in an interview and your potential boss seems absolutely amazing, how do you tell if you are about to enter an environment that will allow for  your success? Make sure you get a sense of the tenure of your future manager’s colleagues, the culture of the organization and the management control behind it.  It takes a village to be a rockstar.