The Oscars — Hollywood’s Super Bowl— aired its 88th annual awards ceremony this past weekend, honoring Hollywood’s elite with all the gold, glitz and glamour we expect from the institution. Six-time nominee Leonardo DiCaprio finally received his Oscar, surprise winner Mad Max swept the craft categories with six wins and Chris Rock injected the festivities with some much-needed discussion of diversity.

And while the awards have a long way to go in recognizing Hollywood’s full range of talent, an Oscar win is still a landmark moment for most working in the industry, and can shift the direction of careers or cement people’s icon status. The Oscars is a celebration for how Hollywood talent is cultivated, groomed and, most of all, valued.

This is a good reminder to reflect on your own business and on how to cultivate and grow the superstars in your midst. After all, your superstars are the ones who shine brightly, go the extra mile, conceive, innovate and create new ideas, products and services, generating value inside and outside the company. If you don’t focus on keeping them — and keeping them feeling appreciated — you will lose vital and invaluable team players.

Here are the top five ways to provide the necessary “star treatment” to keep and cultivate key talent.

1. Internal scouting

How do you find GREAT talent? Look for it! Are you taking the time to make that one great discovery? Agents seek out great talent, and it’s time for you to do the same. Who is the rising star in your midst who deserves further investment and engagement? Who is lagging behind? Who needs a boost?

Having a talent-focused mindset is critical to retaining your best and brightest.

2. Create your own platform

While it’s critical for you to be on the watch for great talent, you should also encourage your talent to promote themselves. Today, becoming your own celebrity is as simple as starting your own YouTube channel. Take a page from YouTube’s Felix Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie, who has 40 million subscribers and pulls in $12 million for providing commentary as he plays video games and features sponsored products.

Encourage your stars to showcase their talents by mentoring them on how to most effectively to leverage their superstar traits and skills. It shows them you’re invested in their careers and can also bring notice to your company. When your stars shine, you shine as well.

3. Screening at Sundance

It’s quite common for a film, especially an independent production, to be presented at festivals like Sundance where they can be noticed and nurtured before being distributed to a wider audience. How many people on your team are those who have the “goods” to grow? In other words, who would you begin to groom in small and meaningful ways to grow their star power? And how would you cultivate that talent?

Just as with great independent films, sometimes it’s critical to give people a chance to present their ideas, engage on smaller scales and impress the critics before they’re ready for the big screen.

4. Red Carpet Treatment

Winners, nominees or just well-dressed stars who walk the red carpet are recognized and acknowledged by their peers. Recognition of an employees’ contributions and achievements is often the deciding factor in their decision to stay or leave a job. Appreciation is a priceless commodity in the workplace, and is ranked right up there with financial compensation.

Devise new, innovative and unique ways to acknowledge your stars. How about giving the classical music aficionado tickets to a stellar Bach concert or your avid chef a cooking class or a reading buff access to a library of thousands of books through Overdrive or Downpour. Even an old fashion and specific “thank you” will do, as long as people feel they are being acknowledged for their contributions.

5. “Roasts” for the Famous

How do you know you made it? When a huge gaggle of celebrities gather to salute you with humor. Why does work have to be so serious? Your stars will be more inclined to success when you inject fun into the day-to-day.

The beginning to creating a fun environment is you. Plan for fun and respond spontaneously to fun moments. Create an FMT (Fun Management Team): instead of another meeting, organize a group of folks who ensure that fun is consistently injected into work. Have the committee rotate members to get new and innovative ideas.

As you’re reading through the many recaps of the snubs, surprises and stunning couture, take time to think which of these strategies could inspire you to give your stars the “Red Carpet Treatment.” Which strategies could you begin to put into practice TODAY? Be specific! Because the more concrete you get, the better your chance of achieving what you set out to do.

We may not be giving out gold statues, but everyone wants to be recognized for their achievements, and a little A-list treatment goes a long way. Just ask Leo.

Esther Weinberg is a leadership expert who works with media, entertainment and technology companies to strengthen and empower global leaders and organizations with the flexibility, focus and mindset to anticipate and adapt to industry changes in real time. She has created breakthrough strategies for such companies as Microsoft, NBCUniversal, Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc., Studio71, Warner Bros. and Disney/ABC Television Group. Building on her insight and knowledge from a 20-year track record in media industry, she is finishing her book “Leadership Hollywood Style” with her co-author from the Oscars, in which they share how to produce, direct and create star performers.

PromaxBDA offers a year-long creative leadership development program, Thrive, which helps high-level creatives evolve into leaders. To learn more and apply, go here or email Stacy LaCotera, PromaxBDA VP and general manager at


  Save as PDF