Hundreds of research studies have quantified the difference between an "A player" versus a "C player." Every one of them concludes that the difference in productivity and the impact on the bottom line is anywhere from 20 percent to over 1,000 percent greater return when you compare the best, most productive employees to those who are "average."

While I've never met anyone who disagrees with this data, most managers and organizations continue to keep C players on the payroll. This leads me to believe that perhaps these managers and organizations:

  • Are focused on the employee, not the expected or required results.
  • Do not face any direct consequence for hiring and/or retaining C players.
  • Are rewarded for low turnover rather than for retaining the right people.
  • Say they want only A players, but are not committed to hiring and retaining them.
  • Don't know what A players look like or how to screen them in during the hiring process.
  • Don't know how to or don't bother to recruit A players. (Most A players are not the people who are looking for jobs; they're among all the folks who are busy working.)
  • Don't know how A players think and make decisions (which is completely different than people who are looking for "just a job, any job").
  • Use a screening process designed to screen people out rather than ensure the right people get in.
  • Don't provide A managers to supervise A employees. (People join companies and leave managers.)
  • Have an HR department that is reactive instead of proactive in helping managers build A teams. They are risk adverse when it comes to letting people go.

Look at it this way: You are only as strong as your weakest link. It only takes one mistake or one attitude problem by one mediocre employee to convince a customer to leave and never come back.