Everyone wants as many A Players as possible on the team. But what does an “A Player” actually look like?
To identify if an employee is an A, B or C player, I consider 4 criteria:
- What happens when you delegate to them?
- What happens when you recruit?
- What happens when they need to do something new?
- What happens when they are blocked?
Now, to look at A, B, C players based on that criteria:
- When you delegate to them, you are confident it will get done
- When you recruit, you looks for others that are similar
- When they need to do something new, they teach themselves
- When they are blocked, they ask for help
- When you delegate to them, they get it mostly done, but need guidance
- When you recruit, you always look for someone better
- When they need to do something new, you have to guide them towards how to learn it
- When they are blocked, they waste time trying to figure it out inefficiently, rather than admit they are struggling
- When you delegate to them, you are worried it won’t get done well
- When you recruit, you purposefully look for someone very different
- When they need to do something new, you need to precisely show them exactly how to do it, and it often still gets done wrong
- When they are blocked, they rarely ask for help and instead just let the project slip
While there are certainly other criteria a CEO can use, I’ve found this a good start to understand who your A, B and C players are. As you think about how to effectively manage each of these types, consider:
1. Set clear objectives and definitions for success
Everyone needs to be aligned on what the objectives are, and how success is being measured. A players will be eager to be a part of the process to define it. For B players, it’s important that they feel bought into the process, even if they may not contribute as much. C players will find excuses why the objectives are unachievable and success unrealistic.
2. Hold everyone accountable for delivering results
A very quick way to expose A, B, C players is truly holding everyone accountable for delivering results. Part of why I built Weekly Update (a tool for teams to share status updates each week) is because I saw the value of getting objectives and progress in writing. It is the only way people can be truly held accountable. A players will be eager to participate, highlight their wins and comment on losses. B players will as well, but may be more reserved in how they share. C players will want to avoid this at all costs, because it exposes their failure to deliver.