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Transcript: How to manage superstars at work

Montreal Canadiens’ P.K. Subban celebrates after scoring against the Ottawa Senators during first period of game five first round NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey action in Montreal on May 9, 2013.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

KARL MOORE – This is Karl Moore of the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University with Talking Management for The Globe and Mail. Today, I am delighted to speak with Pierre Boivin who is CEO of Claridge Inc. at the Bronfman Family office here in Montreal. (Mr. Boivin was previously president of the Montreal Canadiens.)

Good morning, Pierre.

PIERRE BOIVIN – Good morning, Karl.

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KARL MOORE – How do you manage superstars? Because we sometimes have superstars at work that have big egos, a CEA, or a lawyer, but you have real superstars. How do you, as an older man, manage young millionaires?

PIERRE BOIVIN – The first thing that you hope, and this is part of the research you need to do, is that they have got a good upbringing, that their families and people who surround them throughout their teenage years have instilled good values and principles, and by and large that is often the case. Sometimes you have young men that still need a little bit of course correction.

What is most difficult is, and it is particularly the case in a city like Montreal where hockey is so relevant and it touches people in such a powerful way with fans of all ages, you become a hero overnight. A fourth liner in Montreal can't walk into a restaurant without having a line up of people who want his autograph – he is not the star quarterback, he's playing on the fourth line, but they are known because hockey is so important in this city.

So managing the development of their mental strength is critical; helping them manage their off-ice behaviour as much as their on-ice behaviour, in their younger years, is very important. That is why we started to develop, not one but two, rookie teams in the summer and in fact they have been housed many times here at McGill and practised, before we had our practice facility in Brossard, at the McGill arena and took some courses here. These are week long sessions, they are essentially academies, where they are taught about finances, they are taught about Montreal – they are taught about Montreal about it's bilingualism, they are taught about it's culture, they are taught about finances, they are taught about proper community involvement, social behaviour.

Now we are into a new world, we have social media – these guys are tweeting the morning of the game, after a game, so now it is an open platform. So they get media training, all these things, and they have sports psychologists, they have finance people who talk to them; we have community leaders that come in to talk to them. So when you have been drafted at 18 and you go through three summers of that, we have had three, four or five weeks of hands-on ability to influence how they view the franchise they are coming to play for, how they view the city they are coming to play in, and what is expected of them and the responsibility they have now that they have become public figures, heroes, to young boys and girls playing hockey, to their parents and to everybody, they carry a heavy responsibility. And, by in large, they carry it off quite well.

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