Rule #1 To Build A Team Of “A” Players: Be an “A” Owner!

By Daniel Beaulé, Service 2000 Électroménager

“A” players, a term coined by Brad Smart, the creator of Topgrading[1], are high performers who strive to achieve excellence and have a great attitude. Shouldn’t we all hire “A” players? As a Gazelles Coach, I systematically ask owners and groups of executives if they’d enthusiastically rehire all of their people. Some facts:

  • Most owners wouldn’t rehire all of their staff (surprised? probably not)
  • Today, businesses are in a talent acquisition war. The company with the best people wins. And yes, this applies to businesses of any size.
  • Only 10% of the total population are “A” Players
  • “A” Players won’t work for “B” owners.

Yes, finding and coaching “A” Players will help you build a successful business and yes, the extra cost of hiring these people will be more than compensated by the huge leap in productivity which in return will help increase profitability. But let me ask you this question and answer it candidly: would these “A” players follow you?

#1 Rule: Be an “A” owner!

Would you work for your company? Would you follow yourself as the leader? Are you inspiring your people to go the extra mile? Would you be excited by the opportunity that you offer to your people? If not, start working on you and your business value proposition.

8 tips to be an “A” owner

  • Lead by example: don’t ask things that you are not willing to do yourself
  • Be humble: all great leaders work on improving their skills and acknowledge that they need support of some sort. Self assess yourself, identify where you can get better, set a date to achieve an improvement goal and do it!
  • Define and share your vision“A” players want to make a difference and know they’re at the right place. Talk about your vision, help them see how they make this difference right now and in the future, provide tools and support so they can be the achievers you are expecting them to be.
  • Care for your employees, for real: help them grow as individuals. Offer a pleasant, stimulating and positively challenging work environment where they can get better!
  • Be grateful: focus on the positive. Your employees do the wrong thing 2% of the time? Do you congratulate them 98% of the time they do it right? Become “King Congratulations”.
  • Develop a clean and respectful environment: Yes, sometimes you need to explain to some individuals that shouting at colleagues is not admissible in any circumstances as it is harassment. Yes, you might need to explain that mistakes are not made on purpose and that everyone should walk a mile in each others’ shoes. Make sure to recruit people who fit your business DNA and neutralize all such bad behaviors before they affect the overall motivation.
  • Set clear goals, measure, take actions and have a virtual bench: Ok, this one is longer, but it means that you should make sure that everyone in your business knows what is expected from them, that you follow up regularly using agreed upon KPIs, that you enforce the next steps (written warning, suspension, firing) and (this is the most important to have the confidence to action the latter) that you have a virtual bench. A virtual bench is your list of key candidates for each position that you have in your back pocket to fill new positions when the business is growing … or to replace people that need to leave the business.

“A” players want to be surrounded with their own kind. Build a business culture that is appealing to them, sell it (make sure they understand how great the opportunity is) and be an “A” Owner!

Daniel is a Gazelles International Certified Business Coach who teaches business owners and teams of executives how to accelerate their business without damaging their people, cash and culture. He is also president of Service 2000 Appliance located in the Montreal area, Canada. 

[1] Topgrading is a proven and trusted methodology focusing on hiring, coaching and keeping A Players.

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