>A-Players Bring the Best


When you have lots of B and C players in your team, chances are your organization is not likely to achieve greatness. It will live out its life in mediocrity.

So what defines an A player and how do the players differentiate themselves from others? Jack Welch and other such leaders have their own opinions, but for young entrepreneurs and startups, it has a very different definition and meaning. Here is what I think are the characteristics of an A player for a startup:

  • Allround Personalities: The top of the class student is usually bookish and probably has avoided any other activity (social and extra curricular) among his/her peers, considering it “waste of time”. Such graduates are great for, may be, large and established enterprises, where work is defined, but are of little value to startups. The startups are better off hiring all round personalities, are street smart and can handle situations that are not pre-defined for them and can make crucial decisions in crunch situations.
  • Should be active on social and club level (extra-curricular activities) on campus: This trait is extremely important. Once a person goes through the grind of managing an event, say, a music concert or running a student body/club, he/she learns things that are usually never taught in class and it better prepares them for the real life. These events create lots of opportunities to hone one’s skills including communication skills, crisis management, people management, time management and relationship management among others. At times, these issues and skills are exactly what one encounters in their job. Therefore, this experience really helps.
  • Should have played some active sport at a competitive level: This will bring out the competitive factor in a person. This really helps if you are competing hard against an established company as you will not wilt under pressure and can deliver the goods against all odds.
  • Good schooling: This is extremely essential. I have hired from the best of the schools and the worst. I have worked alongside Ivy leaguers as well as community college graduates. In the end, I have always found the top schools produce the best students and hence the best colleagues. If you hire someone with mediocre educational background, you will spend more time teaching them the ropes to do things as compared to someone from a better school. In other words, the productivity of the organization would suffer. So hire smartly.
So can the B players deliver? They will, but will not be able to contribute significantly in keeping your organization as the best in class for that industry. A-players have thrived on being the best all their life and will bring the same attitude and mind set into your organization. They know what it takes to be the best.

There are lots of other characteristics that these individuals should have, but if they have the above background it will really make them stand out from the crowd.

If you are seeking a job or a business relationship with a company then check out its top management closely. See their profiles on Linkedin or google them carefully. If they are not part of the A-team, chances are you are setting yourself for up for disappointment. The top leadership defines the company’s vision, policy and work ethics. If they are mostly B and C players, then the company is not likely to grow beyond a certain point and your career or project will go nowhere anytime soon.

So think wisely and hire smartly.


About Atif Mumtaz
A serial entrepreneur who loves to travel, discuss politics and hikes on weekends.

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