Your Startup team – Working with B Players


Your team is the most important aspect of your startup. A team can either help push forward your agenda, or completely ground it.

Richard Branson said it best: “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

Having a team that can execute, adapt, and innovate is one of the most crucial factors that can make or break a business.

When starting your business, you want to build your team as soon as you can afford to. If you never hire anyone, you’ll be doing all the work yourself. If you don’t hire, you can’t grow and then world domination becomes less realistic.

But at the same time, hiring the wrong person can be quite costly for your startup.

In his article, why hiring B players will kill your startup, Jon Soberg classified workers as A,B,C,D.

A players are fully self-sufficient and takes initiative that positively impacts the company.

B players on the other hand do some things well, but not fully self-sufficient, and not consistently strong.

C players are just average employees and do not excel in any area while D and E are poor performers who should be out, like yesterday.

Soberg went further to state that B players and C players are far worse than D’s and F’s and even declared that B players are the worst hires you can make.

Why, you may wonder? Well, when you have someone on your team that you think is doing well enough, you will likely trust them with mission-critical tasks like hiring or pushing code. This will impact the entire evolution of your company. The work will be good, but not great. They will deliver on time most of the time, and hustle sometimes, but not always.

At least with a D player or F player, you always know the work is no good, so you don’t entrust them with much. But a B-player, where the results could go either way… just watch your back.

Most startups will likely end up with B players and C players. This is because getting an A player in your team may prove a bit tricky since his salary will be quite substantial something a starting business may not be able to offer and also there will be a lot of competition from your competitors which means he may not stay at your business too long before he is snagged by someone else the minute you you’re your hire.

So, how do you make it work with your B players and C players to ensure that you are able to adequately compete with others in your field who are luckier than you to have A players in their team?

First of all, come up with a list of core players from the start and specifying the responsibilities and qualifications required for each position.

Secondly come up with strategies of measuring performance of each employee and the team as a whole.

It is worth noting that the best teams all work together towards a shared goal. Set goals for each employee and let everyone understand how their role affects the overall goal. When team members don’t care about the overall result of their work and only persist on individual goals the whole team will fail to accomplish their set goal.

In the end, whether working with B players or C players, having a team that shares the same vision, values, and goals, equally high level of commitment, understanding how the others work, viewing each other as equally important will go a long way in ensuring you have a chance against your better staffed competitors.

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