Ask AmyK – Questions Answered

Dear AmyK,
What do you do with “C” players who refuse to become “A” players?
Manager of the Alphabet Challenged
Dear Manager of the ABC Slurpers & Slackers,

Accountability is not a dirty word. So my first question is for you.

How might you be “accidentally” keeping these people “C”s? So many times I hear leaders say, “I’ve talked to him.” But when we “Monday morning quarterback” the conversation we discover that the messaging was inarticulate, the directions and expectations unclear, or worse, there’s no follow-through on consequences that everyone agreed to previously.

People crave clarity and focus with clearly defined, measurable deliverables. Share with your “C” Players what an “A” player looks like, sounds like and acts like.  Provide specific examples to avoid miscommunication. Then, with each individual player, co-create 30-60-90 day deliverables. (We call these docs a 3P: Position Performance Profile.) You each must sign the 3P. Every 30 days you review progress. Reward as necessary or firmly indicate that another 30 days of missed objectives leads to termination. There’s no wiggle room. “A” Players love 3Ps because they validate “A” Player behaviors. “B” Players also appreciate a clear path to earning more reward and recognition. “C” Players are typically less enthusiastic, however, you have now given them a choice. They can choose to step up or they can choose to step out. Either way, they take responsibility for their actions.

At the end of the day, you have the team you deserve. Ouch. Sometimes that’s not a very pleasant thing to hear, but it’s true. Teams are a reflection of what the leader tolerates.  If “C”s “refuse” to be “A”s  as you say…let them refuse somewhere else. Perhaps your competitor is hiring?!


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