In today’s fast-paced, competitive business world, A-players are the employees who stand out. Often outperforming their peers by leaps and bounds, they resemble the MVPs in a sports team or the lead performers in an orchestra. Their presence within an organization can catalyze growth, inspire teams, and drive innovation. Entrepreneurs, especially, harbor aspirations of surrounding themselves with such high achievers. But here’s the catch: even with these superstars on board, businesses often fail to give these team members the support they need to win. The reason is around needing to know what an A-player wants in a professional space.
Decoding the A-Player Myth: Entrepreneurs vs. A-Players
Entrepreneurship is a thrilling, albeit challenging, journey. Entrepreneurs’ drive to build and create tend to value autonomy and thrive outside of typical organized structure. Meetings might be obstacles rather than opportunities. Or at least it feels that way. It’s not uncommon for them to assume that their A-players would also cherish similar freedom and also want to avoid structure.
Consider this scenario: an enthusiastic A-player is recruited. The entrepreneur wants to give the A-player freedom and minimize check-ins. This A-player is thriving, breaking records and setting benchmarks. But as time progresses, a noticeable dip in their enthusiasm and performance becomes evident. This isn’t an isolated incident; it’s a recurring pattern seen in many organizations.
So, what went wrong? The oversight assumed that A-players, like entrepreneurs, thrive on autonomy. But that is only the case sometimes. Most A-players crave structure, clarity, and a sense of belonging. Unlike The entrepreneur, the A-player wants to have structure around their position.
What Does an A-player Desire? Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know.
The image of A-players as magicians operating outside the box is only sometimes accurate. While they value autonomy, their primary motivation often lies elsewhere.
They are goal-driven to the core. Giving your A-player tasks and goals gives them objectives. When an A-player can check something off, it gives them a feeling of accomplishment. This means they need clear objectives and precise assignments. They may feel lost when tasked with unclear roles, leading to frustration and decreased motivation. Providing them with clear expectations, broken down into achievable milestones, can drive them to excel.
Entrepreneurs prefer minimal meetings and freedom, and A-players seek regular structured interactions. These meetings serve a dual purpose. Allowing these high performers to assess their progress against set objectives. While also providing a platform to voice concerns, share insights, and realign with the company’s goals. This continuous feedback mechanism keeps them engaged and integrated into the organizational fabric.
Moreover, an inherent trait of A-players is their pursuit of excellence. They’re relentless self-evaluators, gauging their performance, seeking feedback, and striving for improvement. Their thirst for acknowledgment is not ego; it’s about knowing where they stand and how they can improve. Whether through performance dashboards or acknowledging their efforts. Creating a scoreboard for A-players is essential.
Retention and Maximization
Understanding the A-player psyche is foundational, but translating this understanding into actionable strategies is where the rubber meets the road. Here are some key elements entrepreneurs should consider:
- Clarity is King: Every role, task, and expectation should be crystal clear. An A-player should never be left guessing or interpreting their responsibilities. Clear job descriptions, task breakdowns, and performance metrics are essential. Here is a free resource for a job description for an Executive Assistant.
- Constructive Feedback Loops: Instituting regular check-ins is invaluable. You should meet with team members who report to you on the org chart at least once weekly. These shouldn’t be mere status updates but serve as two-way communication platforms. A-players should feel they have a voice and that their feedback is valued.
- Invest in Growth: A-players want to grow and expand their horizons. See the potential in your team and draw it out of them. Companies can cater to this by offering training programs and workshops. This not only augments their skill set but also fosters loyalty.
- Recognize and Reward: While it might sound cliché, recognition plays a vital role. Recognizing and acknowledging where your team is winning does not always have to be monetary. Acknowledging their achievements or public praise can go a long way. Here is a phrase that might help you, “Praise in public, correct in private.” This is a powerful way to get the most out of your team. Acknowledging success on the day-to-day motivates your team to further their contribution.
A-players can be invaluable assets in the business world, where competition is fierce, and the stakes are high. Yet, your business needs more than the presence of A-Players. For your team to flourish, it’s essential to create environments tailored to the team’s unique needs. By offering clarity, structure, feedback, and the recognition they deserve, organizations can keep these top talents and ensure they operate at their peak.
The reward for such an investment? An organization poised for growth, innovation, and industry leadership, driven forward by its most powerful assets: its A-players.
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