Know Your A, B, C and D Players

From time to time, we invite Catapult Group Leaders and speakers to contribute to our blog. Here, new Group Leader Fred Kroin, based in Phoenix, Arizona, shares his thoughts on how to make sure you have the right people on your team—and jettison the rest.

Throughout my career as an executive coach and consultant, I’ve often asked CEOs and business owners to objectively evaluate their key people according to two specific criteria: performance and values. In other words, how well do they do their job and how well do they represent the company’s values (integrity, teamwork, commitment, etc.)?

For example, Melinda is a peak performer who walks the walk when it comes to her company’s values. She’s rated 9-9.  Jerome, on the other hand, is a decent performer who shows less dedication to what the company stands for. We’ll rate him a 6-5.

The purpose of this exercise is to identify the A, B, C and D players on your executive team. Any self-respecting CEO should only want A and B players, right? You’d be surprised—or maybe not—by how often C and D players form part of the team and no effort is made to either improve their skills or get rid of them. This is where I encourage CEOs to ask themselves: What can I do to get C and D to at least a B level? Why retain individuals who are a drag on the business, when I should be focused on the high-performers I want to keep on my team?

We all know the 80-20 rule when it comes to customer service. Think about the rule in terms of your executive team. I suspect that right now 80 percent of your time is spent on issues revolving around your C and D players—they don’t make decisions, they require a lot of guidance, etc. This is 180 degrees away from what you should be doing, namely, focusing on the people you want to hold onto. Left unchecked, C and D players will overwhelm your available bandwidth, leaving A and B players wondering why you’re not helping them achieve their true potential.

It’s a hard fact of a CEO’s life. If training, coaching and mentoring fail to raise a C or D player to acceptable levels of performance and values, you need to get rid of them. Don’t keep people around who aren’t doing their job in the hopes that things will work out. As author Rick Page says, “Hope is not a strategy.”

Develop a “recovery plan” for your C and D players and set a deadline for measuring results. If this doesn’t work out, let them go. Then fill those positions with other people who want to do the jobs better. Your goal should always be to get as many A and B players on your team as possible.

Why would you want to work with anyone else?

Members of Catapult Groups always look for creative ways to raise the skills of their key executives. Learn more about how you can benefit from being a Catapult Groups member.

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