I believe it was Tony Robbins where I first came about the expressions of “surround yourself with A-Players if you want to be an A-Player“. In research A-Players are described from anything of being a workaholic to being a superhero. I am not too sure I am either 😉
However, there is much truth in surrounding yourself with people that help you vs. people that you help. What I mean by that? Simple really, if you ever managed and employed people you should follow one simple rule: employ people that help you push boundaries rather than people that solely do their job. You employ people that are better than you and help you succeed, because if you employ people that you constantly need to micro manage, then you loose too much time.
That doesn’t mean you should employ someone with potential, e.g. people that are, with some coaching by yourself and your team, don’t turn into high performers. Again, the word high performer has to be defined.
Surrounding yourself with people that are better than you will challenge you and help you grow. It also helps the company as boundaries are being pushed.
I have a simple rule when looking at recruitment: people need to be smart, understand the space they operate in and have an understanding of where they and the company want to go. If someone already asks about the future of the project and his/her role in it, then this person is definitely making the last round. They will help me pushing the limits. And if you want to be successful, that is what you need.
Surround yourself with players that help you succeed. You noticed I dropped the A. Somewhere I read A-Players put their job over their family and seek opportunities for their company all the time. High potential, high risk. I am not convinced.
Actually, I am opposing the idea. If someone has family, then this person can still be an A-Player having a great work life balance. As a former boss put it, being away from home one or two nights a week can actually help your relationship. It is good for employees to work longer hours sometimes or travel for work and have some distance to their family and the office. Yet also, it is key for me that employees have a great family ‘back up’. No work at the weekends, being home for bathing their kids on some days of the week (or all) and no late or early hours unless necessary.
Some of you would wonder if I don’t expect a lot more than 9-5 from my staff? I don’t. I expect a lot more from my employees between 9-5. Productivity, excellent work ethics, A-Player thinking, pushing boundaries and constantly contributing to solutions and the progress of the company. If that is happening and the employee has a great work life balance, then this results in better performance than someone working 5-9 who is miserable about their home and family life.
I cannot stress enough that success and performance is not the amount of hours you work but what you get done during your working hours. Everyone can keep busy until late at night, but the output might not be as great. And, whilst sometimes it is necessary to work all night, the majority of time life outside work is to relax and spend time with the loved ones.
Now, to look at “A-Players” (with reference to MaRS) and their key skills:
– smart and asking the right questions
– positive, can do attitude
– entrepreneurial and pushing boundaries
– excellent communicators
– a life outside work
– highly productive and committed
– team players that easily integrate within the culture and team itself
– growth potential
– decision makers
Important is, coming back to your own personal development, that you surround yourself with those kind of employees as they will be the ones taking things forward. Employ people better than yourself, don’t fear competition, as you enable them to grow. They will thank you for that.
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