Defining A, B and C Players

  • Are employees that are considered by their organizations to be their “best” employees. These employees are committed to be in the top 10% of their profession. They are aligned in their careers and absolutely shine in what they do. They love their jobs and are committed to continual learning and personal growth.
  • A Players deliver 2-3 times the results of B Players for similar compensation. Many excellent companies contend one great A Player can replace three average B Player employees.
  • A Players don’t need to be managed. They simply need to be led by providing goals, vision, purpose and values to them.
  • A Players also regularly “wow” the team with their insights and output.
  • Appropriately placed individuals who are highly productive, but are not immediately promotable can also be A Players.
  • A manager cannot be an A Player if they have B’s and C’s reporting to him or her.
  • Taking Pareto’s 80/20 principle a step further, these 10% most likely produce 90% of your organization’s value.
  • If you would enthusiastically re-hire the employee, they are an A Player.
Defining A, B and C Players

  • Are the next 25% of employees in an average organization. Unlike, the A Player, you would not enthusiastically rehire these individuals, due to a combination of performance that is only average, cultural misalignment, variable attitude and/or high maintenance tendencies.
  • B Players tend to push back on initiatives and practice selective accountability. They are half as productive as A Players. If you put a lot of time and effort into them you can temporarily “inflate” them to produce results, but don’t let them fool you, you are doing the work, not them!
  • They bring problems and not solutions and mistakenly feel they are adding value by being the “devil’s advocate”.
  • Finally a B Player manager cannot lead an A Player employee. In fact, you cannot be an A Player manager if you have B or C Players on your team.
  • In short, the B Player dazzles you with mediocrity. You tend to tolerate them far too long because they do produce some useful work and may in fact be people that you like personally, but not professionally. When you finally let them go you ponder “I wish I had done that sooner”!
Defining A, B and C Players

  • Are employees in the organization that are below the top 35%. They need to constantly be told what to do. They do not take the initiative on their own.
  • C Players only work for money. They do not work for a greater purpose or mission. As their name implies, C Players like to complain.
  • They also are adroit at trying to reverse delegate. They are A Player repellent as A Players do not want to be part of an organization that fosters C Players.
  • They chronically miss goals and deadlines and tend to spend most of their time making excuses.
  • They also tend to have a substantial entitlement mentality and are virtually non responsive to feedback and coaching. They are adept at avoiding accountability.
  • C Players kill initiatives even faster than B Players. They need to move all the way to A Player performance and attitudes within 6-9 months. Do not be satisfied if they only improve to a B Player.
  • If they do not commit to becoming A Players, you need to immediately free up their employment options so they have the potential opportunity to become an A Player somewhere else.