Do You Know Your ABC’s…? Part III

C is for Cars

One of the most common frustrations I hear from small business owners is that their employees just don’t treat the business with the same degree of care that the owners do.

These concerns generally come from one of two areas… finance or marketing, and are often expressed by statements like:

“I can’t believe they did, or said, that… couldn’t they see how that would affect the customer… isn’t it obvious what the right course of action should have been?”

Well, the short answer… is no.

They couldn’t see it, and it wasn’t obvious, because more than likely they are C-level players… completely average. That’s life on the top of the bell-curve.

It doesn’t mean they’re not wonderful people…, they just think different.

You, on the other hand, are probably an A player, which is why you ended up signing all the payroll checks on the front, while everyone else signs them on the back.

It’s why you notice things… it’s why you care.


Over the past few days, we discussed the growing importance of differentiating your products or services to avoid the low price trap. We also introduced the idea of reaping exponential rewards from your marketing activities by engaging your staff in ‘whole team marketing’.

There is just one catch… you need to have the right players on the team.


A = Exceptional
B = Superior
C = Average
D = Poor
F = Fail

Think of it in these terms… pick any leadership quality… there’s an infinite number… initiative… judgement… dependability… loyalty… whatever. Now view the ABCDF in terms of how often the individual exhibits that trait:

A = Exceptional / Always
B = Superior / Usually
C = Average / Occasionally
D = Poor / Rarely
F = Fail / Never


Most businesses (likely including your competition) are made up of:

15% – A’s
50% – B’s
35% – C’s or below

While most would agree that a D or F-level employee must go, many are content with those
C’s in the middle. After all… that’s the average.

The trouble with average is that average gets beat a lot. Ask the Green Bay Packers after their overtime loss to the Bears tonight.

They’re not bad, you see… they’re just very average. In fact, for an average team they play pretty well. They’re often in the game right to the end… and then they lose by a hair…

27-24 to Atlanta, 19-16 to Tennessee, 28-27 to Minnesota, 35-31 to Carolina, 24-21 to Houston,
20-16 to Jacksonville, and 20-17 in Chicago less than an hour ago.

Close games, but losses just the same.

As small business owners, you and I cannot long afford to lose a lot of close ones.


So, we draw the line at B – Superior…, and over twelve months we end up with a team that’s made up of 15% A’s, and 85% B’s.

That’s right… superior just became the norm… average… at your company.

And this is our responsibility as leaders… leaders don’t allow their team to struggle, and they don’t allow them to wallow with no growth.

C-level players will never take ownership of their area… they don’t possess the drive to make their area shine, because in their world… average is good enough.

So we invest in them.

Now here’s the interesting thing… you cannot turn a B into an A. Exceptional employees… true leaders… identify themselves. You can, however, transform a C into a B, with mentorship and coaching… if they are willing.

In twenty-two years, I have never met an average employee who could not move up to become superior. Truth be told, most desire exactly that.

And here’s the payoff, by helping another individual to fulfill their potential, you will make life-long relationships with people who are eager to sing your praises, and promote your causes, missions, and ideas.

You get a team that wins… a lot.


I look forward to speaking with you.


Photo Credit:

Joost Assink