FRIDAY, JANUARY 30TH, 2009
How many “A” players are on your team right now? To know this, first we should define what exactly the term A – player means. An A-player represents the top ten percent of the talent available at a given salary level. A players are considered the best-of-class in their particular compensation league. When you consider that definition you should realize that we’re not talking about paying people out of their league, we’re talking about paying people for a particular position at the compensation level competitive with that function. A- players should command higher pay, however not to the degree that they disqualify themselves for performing the given function in your business. The argument that you can’t afford A-players should thus not stand up. In fact given having a C-player in that position, the A-player will always give you a high ROI beyond the compensation provided.
So the question now becomes given this definition, how many A-players do you have on your team? Do you understand why having A-players is important? The Container Store has long had a policy that one Great Person equals three good people. That’s how they look at acquiring talent, and its one reason why their customer service is so superior to their competition. What if one great person is equal to three good people in your business? What would it mean if you could replace three average performers with one good person? Wouldn’t you feel compelled to pay them more?
The present economic situation is offering a terrific opportunity to upgrade the talent level of your company. However you can’t take advantage of this unless you have a scorecard on your current talent level.
Take a few moments to assess what the top 10% would look like for every position in your company. Once you have a vivid picture of what an A-player would look like on your team then assess who in your organization is an “A.” In fact grade every person on your team as an A, B, C or less player. You may be shocked at what you discover. At the very least you should be able to quickly assess the value that A-players bring to your organization. Imagine if you can increase the number of A-players 10%, 20% or even higher? What would that mean to your organization?
Some of you with an E-Myth, Michael Gerber background might be asking, what about systems, what about Toyota and their philosophy? I don’t wish to discount the value of systems or the breakthroughs that Toyota has made with their lean thinking and systematic approach. Yet reality also points to the fact that great minds develop great systems. A-players are the people that propel you forward due to the tremendous brain power and idea generation they bring to any organization. Toyota’s lean approach has yielded great value, and stimulated innovations that have made it a world leader. Yet in most small to mid-sized businesses the creativity and power to develop and administer this type of system must first come from people of powerful strength - A players.
Unless you have a stranglehold on the best ideas in your industry, the best place to develop your business is through finding A- players who can synergize and elevate the people and systems surrounding your business at an extraordinary pace.
I'll have some concluding thoughts on Topgrading in my next blog including why building a virtual bench is so important to growing your organization.
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