A business (or business unit) is easily comparable to a professional sports team. The competition is at the highest level, you’re playing for keeps; i.e., you’re not in a “recreational” league, and you’re very livelihood is at stake.
For example, if you were starting a new professional basketball franchise, you would have options when drafting your players. Your choices would look something like this:
- “A” Players: professional players with a proven record of superior performance
- “B” Players: professional players with an above-average record of performance, or college players with a proven record of superior performance entering the draft
- “C” Players: professional players with an average record of performance, or college players with considerable potential entering the draft
- “D” Players: professional players with a record of recurring problems and below-average performance, average college players entering the draft, and high school players of any caliber (LeBron James aside) entering the draft
Using the sports metaphor, it’s easy to see that having better players results in a better team that wins more often. For example, you know your chances of winning are pretty slim if your team has a majority of and “C” and “D” players and you’re competing against a team which has a majority of “A” and “B” players.
Why then do I often find businesses with a majority of “C” and “D” players? These same businesses usually spend a great deal of time and money on addressing “management” problems and on remedial training.
Wouldn’t it be wiser to spend the same time and money on identifying and hiring “A” and “B” players and giving them the resources to excel and to take the business to the next level of winning and success?
Ask yourself, “How many high school players do I have on my team?” Then ask yourself, “What are my chances of winning big?”
Technique #1: Rate your current “players” on the “A-D” system. Set up a realistic plan with a deadline for improvement of “D” players’ performance. Replace those who do not make significant improvement with “A” and “B” players.
Technique #2: Create an “ideal candidate” or “A” player profile for each new hire, and compare all job applicants against this template. If you decide that you are not going to hire an “A” or “B” player for the position, do so knowingly.
Technique #3: Use whatever recruiting methods are necessary to generate a qualified pool of “A” and “B” players for each new hire.