By Fred Kroin

Throughout my career as an executive coach and consultant, I’ve asked CEOs and business owners to objectively evaluate their key people according to two specific criteria: performance and values. In other words, how well do they do their job and how well do they represent the company’s values (integrity, teamwork, commitment, etc.)?

For example, Sue is a peak performer who walks the walk when it comes to her company’s values. She’s rated 9-9.  George, on the other hand, is a decent performer who shows less dedication to what the company stands for. We’ll rate him a 6-5.

The purpose of this exercise is to identify the A, B, C and D players on your executive team. Any self-respecting CEO should only want A and B players, right? You’d be surprised—or maybe not—by how often C and D players form part of the team and no effort is made to either improve their skills or get rid of them. This is where I encourage CEOs to ask themselves: Why retain individuals who are a drag on the business, when I should be focused on the high-performers I want to keep on my team? What can I do to get C and D to get to at least a B level?

We all know the 80-20 rule when it comes to customer service. Think about the rule in terms of your executive team. I suspect that right now 80 percent of your time is spent on issues revolving around your C and D players—they don’t make decisions, they require a lot of guidance, etc. This is 180 degrees away from what you should be doing, namely, focusing on the people you want to hold onto. Left unchecked, C and D players will overwhelm your available bandwidth, leaving A and B players wondering why you’re not helping them achieve their true potential.

It’s a hard fact of a CEO’s life. If training, coaching and mentoring fail to raise a C or D player to acceptable levels of performance and values, you need to get rid of them. Don’t keep people around who aren’t doing their job in the hopes that things will work out. As a number of business experts have claimed to have coined the phrase: “Hope is not a strategy.”

Develop a “recovery plan” for your C and D players and set a deadline for measuring results. If this doesn’t work out, let them go. Then fill those positions with other people who want to do the jobs better. Your goal should always be to get as many A and B players on your team as possible.

Why would you want to work with anyone else?


Fred Kroin (2)Having served for over thirty years in executive roles at both small and large companies, Fred now introduces himself as an “Executionist” since his current focus is on challenging business owners and their management team to execute more effectively. Fred currently works with a handful of selected clients around the country and facilitates three peer advisory groups in Phoenix for independent subject matter experts, small businesses owners and the Phoenix Catapult Group for CEOs of companies with revenues from $5-100MM+.  Feel free to contact him with any questions.

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Know Your A, B, C and D Players