Is it possible to have too many stars on one team?
Getting a team to work together may be more art than science. But if you have a team with lots of high achievers, you need to harness their talents and ambitions for the good of the team.
Set big goals. Nothing motivates talent like a big goal. Talented people love nothing better than tackling big problems. The more difficult the obstacle, the more engaged they become. Therefore, put the goal before the team. Ask the team members how to solve it--and then challenge them to do it. Big goals are common in design, engineering, and research sectors; innovation fuels employees' drive.
Rub egos together. Smart people like being around other smart peple. They especially enjoy proving how much smarter they are than the others. Use this ego to the team's advantage. Competition for scarce resources like funding and manpower will keep people on their toes.
Keep team goals first. Work to ensure that rivalries are achievement-oriented, not personal. Bruised egos are fine; hurt feelings are not. Make certain that everyone continues to feel like part of the team.
Sometimes you need to invite a star to leave, not, however, because she is a malcontent or because she is causing trouble, but because she needs to move on for the good of the organization as well as herself.