A Different Take On Team Composition

Previously I wrote that you should make sure that your team is comprised only of A and B players. While I still believe in that post, I recently came across a fantastic answer on Quorathat details what I think are the differences between A, B, C, and D team players.

Michael O. Church writes,

The best employees are multipliers who make others more productive, and next are the adders (workhorses). Subtracters are the good-faith incompetents who cost more than they bring. Dividers are the worst kind of problem employee: they bring the whole team (or company) down.

Merging that in with my previous post, and you get:

  • A players = multipliers
  • B players = adders
  • C players = subtracters
  • D players = dividers

I’d like to add my interpretation to what Michael wrote, and say that you mustonly have A players in management precisely because one the jobs of management is to make your team more productive. Now that does not mean that team members shouldn’t include A players, or that all A players are potential management candidates. Sometimes your best employees are just that – your best employees. Figure out their needs, and reward them accordingly, but keep them as A players right where you need them. They will be the multipliersto the B players of your team.

The B players – the addersof your team, do the bulk of the work and add measurable value in everything that they do. Keep them happy, and they will continue to perform for you for many years. But keep an eye on them, and encourage the most capable ones to become A players, but never promote a B player into management.

The C players – the subtractersare the ones who do not produce enough to warrant long-term employment, but are usually capable of improvement to the B player level. Put them on a performance improvement plan, but do so in good faith that they become B players. You usually can afford to carry a C player for awhile, just not forever.

The D players – the dividersare caustic to your team. Whether intentional or not, they eat away at the fabric of your team and undermine your goals and objectives. Dismiss them forthwith. Work with HR to package them out properly. There is no hope for improvement with D players.

Original Ideas

Is there really such a thing as an original idea these days? Somehow, I doubt it. Before you read any further, you just have to watch this video:

Okay. So you have an idea, and you think that it is winner. Odds are, that right now, 1000 people have a very similar idea to yours. Of that 1000, maybe 10 will take action. Now don’t be discouraged. Your idea still has merit. There is probably a component of your idea that is truly unique. That will be your differentiator.

What you need to do now, is to perfect your differentiator. Do that in silence. Do it in isolation. Tell everyone around your about what you are doing, but don’t reveal your differentiator until you have it perfected.

Then sell it. Hammer the competition with it. Dominate your sector with it. But don’t stand still. You had better have some more differentiators up your sleeve if you want to stay the market leader.

And don’t be surprised if the world doesn’t “get” your differentiator the first time that they see it. With time, they will.

“Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.” — Howard Aiken (American computer engineer and mathematician 1900-1973).

Never, Ever Fall For The Counteroffer

So, you finally made the decision to move on. It could have been for any one of a million reasons, but you made it. You wrote your resume, found a recruiter that you liked, and started your search. After a few interviews, you receive an offer. You accept, and agree to a start date 2 weeks down the road.

Now all that’s left to do is to write your resignation letter and deliver it to your manager. You’re floating. You knock on your manager’s door and ask him if he has a few minutes. You hand him the letter and politely tell him that you are resigning. He asks you what he can do to get you to stay. You hesitate. He asks you for details of your offer and suggests that he may be able to meet or exceed it. You pause for a moment, and begin asking some questions.

From the moment that you hesitated, you blew it. The only correct thing to do was to immediately say that while you enjoyed working for the company, that the decision is final.

Now here’s the list of reasons why you should never, ever fall for the counteroffer:

  1. Remember, there was a reason or reasons why you started looking in the first place. What in the counteroffer changes any of that?
  2. Your resignation letter was effectively an ultimatum to the company – pay up or I’m leaving. So now that they’ve paid up, they can begin looking for your replacement on their terms.
  3. Good luck with your next promotion within the company. In all likelihood, they will hold the counteroffer over your head for years to come (if you even last that long).
  4. I hope that you realize that you have just wasted a whole bunch of people’s time – from recruiters, to hiring managers, to HR, to administration staff, to your references, to the other candidates for the job. Not to mention the costs that your prospective employer went through performing background checks and employment verification. If you accept the counteroffer, you have probably burned a bridge with both the recruiter and the employer. Don’t expect either of them to welcome you into their offices ever again.
  5. You’ve just demonstrated to everyone involved that you did not think things through very thoroughly – that you are immature and inexperienced. That you are unreliable.

Remember, it takes a lifetime to build a reputation, and only a moment to tarnish it. So, before you even begin looking for a new job, make sure that you are fully committed to moving on, and that there is no way that you would accept a counteroffer.

For a good employer will be happy for you when they learn about your career move, and may even consider bringing you back at a position of higher responsibility sometime down the road.

Managing For Results, Not Time Spent Working

What should managers care the most about – the number of hours that their employees put in, or the results that they produce? In North America, the emphasis seems to be on getting employees to work more hours, with the assumption being that productivity will increase. But, will it?

Well, studies show that the optimal work week is – drum roll please – 40 hours!

Bring back the 40-hour work week

Stop Working More Than 40 Hours a Week

If you work in the area of software development, then you really need to read this post “Why Crunch Modes Doesn’t Work” from The International Game Developers Association.

And what is the impact on employees working more than 40 hours per week for an extended period? According to Business Insider stress, heart disease, hypertension, and depression, just to name a few.

America’s 55-hour work weeks ruin workers’ lives and don’t produce extra value for employers

The Importance of Human Resources to an Organization

How much does your President or CEO really know about your company’s Human Resources department? If they want to lead a great organization, then it pays to know a lot. Don’t just look upon HR as a regulatory requirement, look upon HR as a competitive advantage that best positions you to dominate your industry.

The best organizations have great HR departments, and great leaders that recognize this fact.

Businessweek – What Every CEO Needs to Know About HR

A Company is a Community, not a Machine.

Does your boss refer to the company as a factory? Does he treat the staff like they are robots? Does he desire to know exactly how you spend your day, or does he care about the results that you produce?

Great leaders take people to a better place. Their goal is for everyone on the team to have success.

“The best managers have a fundamentally different understanding of workplace, company, and team dynamics. See what they get right.”

Inc. – 8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses