There are rising stars in organizations.
They are whispered about as people to watch. Long before gaining any serious power, they benefit from an unusual amount of deference because of their perceived potential.
No one wants to cross a rising star.
A great many of them fall. It is often difficult to determine the reason. Sometimes their fortunes were linked to a mentor and when the mentor went into disfavor, so did the protege. On other occasions, the rising star ran afoul of some arcane corporate rule or unwisely stepped on a person who still retained enough power to be lethal.
This is not surprising because rising stars are targets. Not everyone who smiles on their fortune is a friend. And for students of Machiavelli, there are twelve different ways to ruin an opponent before breakfast.
Other rising stars self-destruct. They take reckless risks that seem designed to produce scandal and perhaps they were.
There are times, however, when nothing but simple exposure brings about the decline of the rising star. The space telescopes reveal there is not much substance beneath the glitter.
That condition that fascinates me. What creates the image of a faux rising star? These are some common characteristics:
- They are good looking. Few people who are flat-out ugly are regarded as rising stars. They look the part.
- They are articulate. Listen to a faux rising star and you may be impressed. Read the same words and you will be less impressed.
- They dress well. These folks know how style seduces.
- They have powerful allies. Their main skill may indeed be the cultivation of connections.
- They hide a vague grasp of issues in the guise of sophistication. For them, matters are always complex. Very complex.
- They are famous for being famous. Search for a real accomplishment and you'll probably find few, if any. They rise on potential, not on achievement.
But they can give a good speech.