In our last blog post, I wrote that Steve Jobs said A players are 50-100 times more productive than B or C players. Here again I mention Steve: he credited Apple’s ability to find, hire and retain A players as a key driver in the company’s unprecedented success.
Think about that: Apple is a company that, as of today, is valued at around $490 billion. Now I’m not saying that Apple got to that level of success just by hiring A players – we know there are several other factors that played, and still play a huge role here. But if we only look at the people who work for Apple and we know Apple only hires A players, we can attribute some of – perhaps even a lot of – the company’s success to who they hire. So by this logic, we can say that when a company hires top performers, they will not only see success in terms of their valuation, but also a significantly greater return on invested wages. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
Let’s look at a few other examples of how A players have an impact on companies’ success:
- A Players Are the Greatest Return on Investment
Brad Smart tells us that A players are 12 times more productive than the average employee, or B player. So if we apply that statistic to the IT industry, top IT talent will deliver 12 times more return on his or her investment than the average IT worker. And this is the kind of investment that moves an organization forward in a powerful and positive way. (Think Apple.)
- A Players Produce Higher Quality Work and Make Fewer Mistakes
There’s no greater need for quality work, and efficient and effective teams than the IT industry where, as McKinsey reports, 56% of all IT projects fail. But not with A players. A players go the extra mile to get it right the first time. They instill more trust and confidence. They communicate better. They’re more proactive. They anticipate problems and head them off before they occur. There’s no doubt about it: A players simply deliver higher quality results.
- A Players Attract More A Players
We know that A players hire A players. B players hire C players. This is true socially, too: A players hang out with other A players, as in “birds of a feather flock together.” They know each other’s names. They’re not threatened by each other; in fact, just the opposite. They want to learn from each other, help each other grow and share knowledge. And what’s more, this cycle of collaboration not only improves each individual A player, it helps the entire team improve too.
- A Players Deliver Extraordinary Customer Satisfaction
A players deliver the highest level of customer satisfaction, bar none. Not just merely satisfied customers. Call it what you want – net promoter score, customer loyalty, or another of the myriad of business terms being used out there. They’re all the same. A players consistently deliver the best and most satisfied customer experiences. And it’s no different in the IT world: IT organizations are consistently put their best people on their toughest challenges.
- A Players Promote Sustainable Businesses
All these pieces working together creates a healthier business. (Remember Apple?) Hiring A players promises a measurable return on invested wages, produces higher levels of efficiency, better work with fewer mistakes, and ensures exceptionally satisfied customers. The traits of an A player and the results they produce are inextricably linked to healthier, more stable and more robust businesses.
So you get why it’s important to be an A player in an IT organization – or any organization for that matter. But how do you go about becoming one?
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