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Strategic Discipline Blog

Few Set the Bar at A Level

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Feb 28, 2011

It’s possibly one of the most damning statements that can be made about a person or business.  It’s the equivalent of Jim Collins, “Good is the enemy of great.”

Geoff Smart in Topgrading makes a point that few businesses set the bar at “A” when asking for accountability for their people.  Why are we so easily happy with mediocrity?

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Several weeks ago I interviewed Jonathon Davis of Hire Better, a recruiting firm that uses Topgrading principles to locate “A” players for businesses.  He offered an interesting insight into A players.  He said, “It’s the role we play that makes us an A player or possibly a Multiplier. Placing people in their proper roles helps them to increase their confidence.”   His response came from a question we’ll explore in my next blog on whether an A player is a Multiplier or vice versa.

How often do each of us set the bar for our own performance below our best or A effort?  Are we so numb to what it takes to achieve A effort from our people?  Is it because we are worn out from attempting to get better performance [as illustrated by the book Switch and my newsletter People Lazy or Exhausted? #105] that we decide to accept what we can and give up on achieving a higher level of commitment, performance and motivation?

I’ll admit that I’m guilty of not always giving 100%.  Yet when I’m passionate about what I do, when what I do is what I love, rarely if ever does my effort and results fall short of A level. 

Jonathon’s observation is accurate.  Getting people in their proper roles increases confidence, and finding people who are enthusiastic about the position and company they work for is our A level if we run a business.

One of the principles I loved [Despite many of my peers who didn’t] about Michael Gerber’s E-Myth was the process of discovering Your Primary Aim.  It is reinforced in many other books including The Power of Full Engagement and Tony Schwartz most recent book Be Excellent at Anything. Discovering your own personal mission provides you with the energy you need to make you greatest effort. 

One of my clients offered a simple solution to finding the right people.  He offered Starbuck’s president’s answer when asked how he gets people who work for them to smile all the time.  “We hire people who smile!”  He replied.

Want people who function and perform at the A level in your business?  Set the bar at A level.  Know what your core values and purpose are.  Demand accountability that you can measure.  Learn how to Topgrade, and don’t settle for mediocrity.  You and your people can and will rise to the occasion.

Next blog, are A players Multipliers and/or are Multipliers A players?

Topics: Accountability, A Players, Topgrading, The Power of Full Engagement, A Level

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The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
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- Meeting Rhythms

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