A-Players Hire A-Players

Hiring the right talent is one of the most crucial aspects of building a successful organization. The caliber of your team can significantly impact the company’s culture, productivity, and overall success. There’s a well-known adage in business circles:

A players hire A players, and B players hire C players.

This statement encapsulates a sometimes subjective truth about the dynamics of hiring and leadership. Understanding this either truth or bias or a mix of the two – can make a significant difference in how an organization evolves and thrives. For top leaders to open their minds to thinking in this way shows an enlightened leader who is primed to lead the next generation. Good Intent advisory services come in to further enable this.

The A Players: Striving for Excellence

A players are those top performers who excel in their roles, consistently deliver high-quality results, and drive the organization forward. They are characterized by their high standards, strong work ethic, and commitment to excellence. When it comes to hiring, A players seek out individuals who match or surpass their own capabilities.
Here’s why:

1. High Standards: A players maintain high standards for themselves and their work. They understand the importance of surrounding themselves with equally capable individuals who can contribute to and maintain these standards. This ensures that the team remains strong, innovative, and competitive.

2. Collaboration and Innovation: A players thrive in environments where collaboration and innovation are encouraged. They know that hiring other A players will create a dynamic team that can brainstorm effectively, solve problems creatively, and push boundaries together.

3. Continuous Improvement: A players are always looking to improve and grow. By hiring other A players, they create a culture of continuous learning and development. This environment challenges everyone to enhance their skills and knowledge, benefiting both the individual and the organization.

The B Players: Comfort in Mediocrity

B players, on the other hand, are competent but not exceptional. They perform adequately but often lack the drive and ambition to reach the highest levels of performance. When B players are in positions of hiring authority, some may have a bias to hire C players for several reasons:

1. Insecurity: B players might feel threatened by A players. Hiring someone more capable or ambitious can create a sense of insecurity about their own position and performance. To avoid this, they might opt to hire C players, who are less likely to challenge their authority.

2. Comfort Zone: B players are comfortable with the status quo. They may not feel the need to push boundaries or take risks. C players, who are often content with mediocrity, fit well within this comfort zone and do not disrupt the existing dynamics.

3. Lack of Vision: B players may lack the vision to see the potential in hiring top talent. They might prioritize short-term needs and convenience over long-term growth and innovation. This shortsighted approach can lead to hiring less capable individuals who do not push the organization forward.

The Impact on Organizational Culture

The hiring practices of A and B players have profound implications for organizational culture. When A players hire A players, they create a high-performance culture where excellence is the norm. This culture attracts more top talent, fosters innovation, and drives the organization toward its strategic goals.

Conversely, when B players hire C players, the organization can become stagnant. Mediocrity becomes accepted, and the overall performance of the team declines. This can lead to a culture of complacency, where employees are not motivated to go above and beyond. And as Ray Croc famously said,

You’re only as good as the people you hire.

Building a Culture of Excellence

To build and maintain a culture of excellence, it’s crucial for organizations to empower A players to take the lead in hiring decisions.

This means:

1. Recognizing Talent: Identifying and nurturing A players within the organization. Truly understand them and lead WITH them. Providing them with the resources and authority to make key resource and hiring decisions.

2. Encouraging High Standards: Promoting a culture that values high standards, continuous improvement, and innovation. This attracts and retains top talent. This can be done with respect and dignity of all working styles and differences

3. Mitigating Insecurity: Addressing insecurities and fostering a culture of collaboration rather than competition among employees. Encouraging B players to improve and strive for excellence.

4. Strategic Vision: Ensuring that the organization’s vision and goals align with the hiring practices. Prioritizing long-term growth and innovation over short-term convenience.

In conclusion, the adage “A players hire A players, and B players hire C players” underscores the importance of strategic hiring. By understanding and embracing this principle, organizations can build teams that are not only competent but also capable of driving sustained success and innovation. The goal is to create a culture where excellence is the norm, and every team member is motivated to perform at their best.

In this post we do not attempt to define or claim tell you what the words “exceptional”, “A Player”, “mediocrity”, etc means. Most of these are adjectives of which the acceptable benchmark you get to decide.

Need advisory in this area or support building the case for change? Contact Good Intent.