How to identify genuine people in an organization

One Method to Identify the Genuine A-Players in Your Organization

by Mar 19, 2024Entrepreneur, HR, Management, Talent

The term “A-player” has become commonplace in the modern workplace, universally understood to represent your organization’s top performers. These individuals consistently deliver exceptional results and maintain higher standards of quality compared to their colleagues.

The problem is that there never seem to be enough A-players. That means that organizations fight tooth and nail to recruit and hang onto these top players.

But there is also an overlooked question lurking behind the scenes here. How do you identify your organization’s real A-players?

Sometimes, it’s obvious. You know an A-player when you see them. But, other times, especially among more introverted and quiet employees, it might require a harder look.

Here’s a hint: They all share one trait. And once you know what to look for, you might discover you have more A-players than you realized.

A love of efficiency

All A-players share a common trait of a love of efficiency and processes. What I mean by this is that A-players hate doing repetitive work and loathe making errors and mistakes.

This drives them to avoid doing anything more than once if they can avoid it–especially if the task is boring or rote. And they do this by creating processes to get the work done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

This differentiates them from B- and C-players. B- or C-players will continue to work the way they were taught without looking to improve it, even when it results in errors. That’s because they don’t pay attention to working efficiently.

A-players, on the other hand, hate inefficiency with a passion. They will immediately look for ways to create or redesign a process to achieve maximum efficiency and quality.

This creates a multiplier effect through the organization that helps leverage every ounce of value out of your human capital. Not only do processes make people more efficient, but they also help eliminate the tedious work that leads to boredom and disengagement. Put another way, the more processes you have, the more quality work you can get done.

Looking outside the box

I was recently involved in running a software company and saw firsthand how A- and B-players operate.

We had a very capable software engineer heading up our quality control efforts on our product, an app for phones.

Yet, when testing each app release, this quality manager had her team run the tests manually. In other words, she had the members of her quality team bang on the app for a few hours each day and see if they could break anything.

Not only was this incredibly time-consuming, but it was also flawed, since the team couldn’t test every possible variable. That meant some bugs were slipping through the cracks, leading to more rework and updates.

When I asked this quality manager why she wasn’t using a more automated system or process for testing the app, she gave me a blank look. As qualified as she was at her job, she was just a B-player.

I would never have had to ask that question of an A-player. They would have intuitively been driven to automate the testing process as much as possible.

Trust the process

It’s not just in a software business that you’ll find A-players looking to create processes. Look everywhere: in accounting, engineering, and even marketing.

I work with someone I have hired to help me repost articles of interest on my social media feeds. We know how a B-player would have approached this task. They would manually research and seek out articles and then manually repost them. There is nothing wrong with this approach, but it would take up a lot of time this employee could have spent on other tasks.

Fortunately, I learned I had hired an A-player. After learning what was involved in completing the task, she found a tool that would automatically search out relevant articles, and then, by using a simple-point-and-click interface, my employee could schedule the articles for posting a month or two ahead of time.

Rather than taking a half hour every day to find the articles to post like a B-player would have done, my employee spent a half hour and got the job done for the next month! That’s when I knew I’d found an A-player.

So, if you’re wondering who the real A-players are inside your organization, look for employees drawn to using tools and processes that enable automation and eliminate repetitive work. You might be surprised about the kind of talent you have inside your organization.