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What is an A-player?

The key to scaling up your business: A-Players

A common factor in high performing Scaling Up companies is their percentage of A-Players.

Defining an A-Player

An A-player is an individual who excels in their current role, and is strongly aligned with the company’s unique core values

Successful scaling can well and truly begin when a business has passionate and committed team members.

If you’ve read Verne Harnish’s books Scaling Up and Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, you’ll know just how important A-players are. A-Players are fundamental to the Scaling Up Methodology. As Scaling Up Coaches, we’re quick to help our clients understand the power of A-players.

Understanding A-players is essential for every business leader looking to grow. If you’re reading this, that includes you. That’s why, in this guide, we’ll unpack how you can scale quickly using A-players, including:

Characteristics of A-players Infographics

What is an A-player?

You can identify an A-player based on these two factors:

  1. They are a great cultural fit. Their core purpose and values align with your own, and they are a great fit for your team.
  2. They can perform. They have high productivity, and provide quality work. A-players are confident, positive, and driven people, who will lighten the load for the business. 

A-players exhibit a positive attitude and have a strong sense of purpose. They contribute positively to workplace morale, elevating the overall performance of the company.

A-players accelerate organisational scaling by instilling a culture of excellence and setting a benchmark for others. Their exceptional skills and commitment enhance productivity and inspire a dynamic work environment instrumental to rapid growth and success. This being said, A-players also contribute significantly to achieving business goals. A-players go beyond meeting expectations; they proactively seek opportunities for improvement and innovation, making them valuable assets to any organisation.

In addition to their professional capabilities, A-players foster effective communication and collaboration within the team. They are experts in problem-solving, adaptable to change, and resilient in the face of challenges. A-players meet job requirements and exceed them, setting a standard of excellence that positively influences those around them.

Identifying and nurturing A-players is a strategic approach for organisations aiming to scale their business quickly.

What's the key ingredient to building a team of A-players?

Embracing age diversity is the secret ingredient in creating your dream team. By uniting experienced silver foxes with youthful digital natives, we unlock an extraordinary x-factor.

Including individuals from diverse age groups brings a mix of experiences, perspectives, and skills that drive your business’s growth. The collective wisdom from years of industry experience complements the innovative ideas brought in by the younger generation. This interplay of knowledge creates an outstanding team of creativity and efficiency.

The advantages of such age-diverse teams become particularly evident when scaling your company. Leveraging the diverse strengths of your team members fosters a more inclusive work environment. It also equips your organisation to navigate the complexities of a rapidly evolving business landscape. The seasoned professionals contribute valuable insights and mentorship, while the younger talents inject vitality, collectively propelling the company forward.

Embracing age diversity is a strategic move that positions your organisation to thrive in an ever-changing market. The intergenerational collaboration within your team becomes a catalyst for success as you embark on the journey of scaling your company.

Why are you losing A-players?

The number one reason why businesses lose their A-players is because of the inadequate management of D-players. D-players are team members who are low in productivity and do not align with the company’s core values.

D-players have a detrimental influence on team productivity and pose a risk to company culture. They also drag down performance and consume company resources.

The main problem arises when D-players are left unaddressed. The lack of corrective action can foster an environment of frustration and impatience among your high-performing A-players. This discontent may manifest as a result of the perceived imbalance in expectations and contributions within the team. Over time, the morale of your A-players may decline, resulting in the resignation of your valuable team members.

The failure to effectively manage underperforming D-players places the long-term stability of the organisation at risk. Dealing with performance issues ensures a healthier and more sustainable team dynamic, essential for successful scaling.

A-player and D-player comparison chart


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