America’s Leadership Expert : Manage Challenges

Speaker 1: This is Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert with podcast number 64, Defining A, B and C players. This is one of the things that if we are not careful as business leaders, as entrepreneurs, as owners of businesses, if we are not careful, we will not take the time to identify clearly what A, B and players look like and what they do, what their characteristics are. And as a result, C players can creep into our company and we will tolerate them. So this episode, episode number 63 is all about helping you define. I want to strongly encourage you, as Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert, I want to strongly encourage you to take notes on this and actually put these up in your office. Slap them up on the wall, let people see these are the definitions of what an A player is, a B player and a C player. I think it is Jack Welch, when he was the CEO of GE. Once a year, he would always call his entire organization of all C players. It was like setting, he was like Moses. He’s up on the mountain and he is saying “Okay, C players come over here.” And then he is saying something and all of a sudden, the earth is opening up and swallowing them whole, cutting them out of the organization.

As Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert , this is one of the key things that I find with business leaders, with owners across the country. It’s that they hire people and there is an emotional attachment to the people. And because of that emotional attachment, they struggle getting rid of people. And they put the value on the people, primarily due to how long they’ve been with them. “Well I can’t get rid of them, they’ve been with me way too long.” We want to identify people in these three categories. So let’s dive into this. Once again, as Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert , these would be the definitions or the characteristics of an A player, write these down.

Number one, they arrive to work early and stay until the job is done. Oh I love that. Number two, they embrace ongoing learning and don’t push back when assigned something that is new and challenging because they like big challenges. They love being challenged, they embrace it rather that pushing back. “I don’t know if I can do that.” Number three characteristic of an A player, they hold themselves to a higher standard than management does, so they can show that they are really don’t need a boss. This is huge. Once again, as I travel the country and as I work with my clients across the country as Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert , I find so often that there are leaders, business owners that are worn out because they are tolerating low performing employees. Employees that don’t have the inner drive. And so they are constantly battling with having to provide that inner drive for them. It can be extremely draining.

Number four characteristics of an A player, they are hungry for more work and more obstacles to overcome. Number five, they are goal oriented and want to win. Oh my gosh, I am just saying all these things and I’m going “This is wonderful, this is exactly who you are wanting.” I’m going to go ahead and give a shout out here to my personal assistant in my company, Sean Lowman. He is an A player. I’ve been truly blessed and they’ve been many of my clients that have been truly blessed because of his work ethic and his mentality in my company and he is 23 years old.

Number six, they have a growth mindset that is focused on constant improvement. Number seven, they consistently get their job done. Word, consistently get their jobs done, without broadcasting their emotional state to the room. “Look what I did, look how I’ve done this. Has anybody else? Oh I guess I’m the first.” I’m being sarcastic. They consistently get their jobs done. With these people, you usually can’t tell whether they are going through a personal tragedy or if they have won life’s lottery because they will get their work done either way. Again, back to Jack Welch, they have the edge where they are able to work through difficult situations and continue producing. And finally, the eighth characteristic of A players, they can stand to work … Get this, they can’t stand to work around B minus or C players who represent mediocrity and people who are slowing them down. They would get so frustrated. This is one of the ways you keep A players, is you have to get rid of your C players. If you don’t get rid of C players, A players will leave you. It’s very important for you to know.

So again, as Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert , these are just the characteristics that I want you to carry with you, that I want you to understand as a business owner, as a business leader, as an entrepreneur, this is how we evaluate. Please, write these things down, put them up on the wall, hold people to these standards.

Let’s take a look at B players, the characteristics. Eight characteristics of B players. Number one, they arrive to work right on time and leave work right on time or two minutes early. Number two, they push back at the thought of ongoing learning and tend to ask if they are going to get paid for it. “Because it’s not necessarily part of my job description,” would be something they would say. So they are asking for a little bit extra. “If I give you extra, I expect extra back.” Number three, they hold themselves to the standard that management sets and actively demonstrate. Oh that’s key.

They wait for management to set the standards for them. They constantly compare themselves to their coworkers to justify their lack of effort and excellence. “Oh I’m doing better than Bob, I’m doing better than Susie. I’m doing better than them. Okay I get, I’m not as good as Michael but you know, I’m better than Bob.” They use others to evaluate themselves. Number four, they don’t want more work and they spend any free time they have planning their next vacation. Again, these are B workers. They are not bad, okay? These are not bad folks but they are not A players, they are B players. They are the B squad, they are the JV.

Number five, they are not goal oriented and they hope the company wins just enough so that they don’t have to look for another job. Number six, they have a fixed mindset that is based upon their belief that each person is born with a certain amount of skills and that is all there is to it.  America’s Leadership Expert This fixed mindset versus a learning mindset. This is from Carol Dweck, a book called The Learning Mindset. You may want to check out that book, it’s very impressive.

Number seven for B players, they consistently get their jobs done while bringing their up and down emotions to their workplace each day. So this is a key thing again, B players are getting the job done but at the same time, they do bring a bunch of drama. They bring what they had from home right into the office. They bring the TV shows right into the office. And then finally, number eight, they love working with B minus players and C minus players because those people justify that they are doing good. Those people justify their slow work pace and whom they can go out to each with and talk about everything expect doing an excellent job. So these are the characteristics of B players.

And then finally, we get into this C players category and oh, once again, unfortunately, I think you are gonna to find these are very common and unfortunately, as I get to travel and as I get to coach business owners and entrepreneurs across the country as Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert , what I discover is, so many people have way too many C players that they are tolerating in their organizations. Let’s take a look at this, see if any of these sound familiar.

America’s Leadership Expert Number one, they arrive to work five to ten minutes late and always have a traffic related, personal or medical excuse. Just this morning, I was working out of my office complex and a gal that I know from another company was walking in, it was seven minutes after nine. She’s walking in, I know that she’s supposed to be at work at nine. And I go “Oh running a little bit late?” And what do you think she said? “Oh my gosh, this morning, this construction on Harvard is just slowing everything down.” She’s blaming it on the construction. Oh we want to be careful with this. Again, I’m not saying she’s a C player, but that’s a C player move right there. Number two, they systemically make teaching them so hard that management gives up on them. But we don’t fire them, but we just give up on them. We tolerate their lack of performance since they are branded unteachable, they get less put on their plates than anyone else. We don’t give them the work that they need to be doing but we keep paying them, oh so common.

America’s Leadership Expert Number three, they have no standards and want to do the least amount of work possible during each workday. When you work into the room, they minimize their social media screen and their chat room programs to pretend to be working. Guys this is so common. Does any of these sound familiar to you with your employees? They find ways to leave work early and take extended breaks. They furge on amount of time it takes for them to accomplish nearly every single task and they need to be praised for just doing their job or they will have an emotional breakdown. Oh am I preaching to the choir? Can I get an amen out there? This is so common and unfortunately, it is managements fault because we allow it to remain. We don’t get rid of the C players. Number five, they view success as based largely upon luck and they are actually bitter towards people who are more successful than they are.

Number six, they have a fixed mindset that is based upon their belief that each person is born with a certain amount of skill and that’s all there is to it. Does that sound familiar? We talked about that with the B level players as well. Number seven, they only work hard when they emotionally feel like it and they usually don’t. Their emotions drive them. Whether they are going to perform or not is all an emotional thing so you don’t know what you are going to get from them on a daily basis. Number eight, they love working with B minus and C minus players who justify their slow work pace and they go out of their way to spread gossip and negative feelings around the office to bring the room down to their way of thinking.

Oh folks, if you are a business owner, if you are an entrepreneur, if you’re a business leader, a business manager, please take it from me, Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert , you must focus on your A players and give them the lion share of your time and your resources. You need to fire, fire today, right now, even turn this podcast off, leave your desk, get out of your car, go give a call, walk up to these people fire them now. Get them out of your company and all of your B players, you need to give them opportunities to step up into being an A player. Give them the chance, give them the invitation to step into being an A player. If they don’t accept the invitation and move forward, it just let’s you know this is a B player, I need to keep my eye on them because if I don’t, they will turn into a B minus and C player and now you’ve got problems if you allow them to stay.

This is Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert with podcast number 63, defining A, B and C players.

Clay Staires