How to Keep ‘A’ Players – 3 Company Keys

How do you keep the “A' Players you successfully hired? The game is on! It might come as a surprise, but there's not one CEO or business leader that can win the game alone—the scoreboard only reaches as high as the company team achieves. Building an engine of talented ‘A' Players will  help your company rise to the top, especially when they feel empowered to produce and excel.

But even if you build that ‘A' Player Teamyou need to know how to keep them. And that is NOT automaticin fact, it can be downright difficult.

Some entrepreneurs aren’t good at the people part and they know it. The people part is complex. Their tendency is to want to ignore, look the other way or hire that part out, which results in major problems and ‘A' Players leaving. This is a warning: Don’t be oblivious or too busy to be a strong leader. If you're a team sports fan, you know how much the leadership matters. The team that has a strong coach that promotes and develops team strengths wins the game and the championship. 

These three company keys are a big, big deal. Please pay attention, so  that you keep your ‘A' Players once you've hired them. My earlier blog, How to Attract ‘A' Players to Your Team, is one you might want to check out if you are hiring. 

Uh...which 3 keys did Annie say I need? Cartoon: Person finding keys on a large ring top open door, 'Vision Manifest'. - Leading Edge TeamsDid you know that more than 70 percent of people quit their jobs because they don't get along with their boss? You can avoid this in your company. Here's how:

Key #1 – Self-Leadership. Self-Leadership is a necessity whether you are a CEO or a new hire. You need the ability to show up, collaborate with your best thinking and align to take effective action. This is vital if you are going to be a top performing company filled with ‘A' Players.

It’s true, Self-Leaders have a secret skillit’s competence in staying out of emotional reactivity the undercurrent of uncontrolled emotional reactions; the primitive, automatic “fight or flight.” All of us must learn to catch ourselves and recognize when we are falling into emotional reactivity. This doesn't mean these emotions go away, but they decrease to a level where we use our brains and make different choices.  

You and me—we all need to become skilled in how to stay in a place of emotional regulation. Your team will take notice and follow the lead when your Self-Leadership models emotional regulation.

When you approach your role from Self-Leadership, you experience many benefits—not acting on impulses assures that you contribute high level critical thinking in stressful and challenging circumstances. Business is complex, strong Self-Leadership becomes your competitive edge. When you choose actions and direction from a place of calm alignment, it results in achieving the big outcomes you desire, those that best support the success of the company. 

This next point is super important. You and your team need to build the muscle to get out of emotional reactivity when it happens. Quickly! Otherwise, emotions run  your team’s decision makingwhich, trust me, does not lead to the best results. For optimal results, Self-Leadership is the driving force. 

It bears repeating, do not allow emotional reactivity to drive the decisions you make and the actions you take. That’s a recipe for disaster. If “Key #1” is ignored or allowed to run amuck, you, the CEO or team leader, will find yourself alone in a dark forest. If this happens, you lose ‘A' Players and profit!   

A company culture in reactivity hikes along an exhausting, bumpy road, with fires to put out at every turn. Obviously, if this becomes a habit in any company, it takes its toll. And you guessed it! ‘A' Players will move on!

So… you want to consistently show strong Self-Leadership. Make it a habit! 

Key #2 – Effective Teamwork. The first part of effective teamwork is that each person, from the CEO to the newest hire, needs to have good Self-Leadership.

You need everybody to develop personal Self-Leadership—doing their part—resulting in a creative, collaborative environment. The need to individually win and compete is replaced with ‘A+' Level Leaders uniting to contribute their greatest gifts and talents. Individual leaders thrive when they can make significant contributions to the whole. Critical thinking soars, flexibility increases, and communication is straightforward and clear. Decision-making is respected. This is the road that leads to achieving company goals and outcomes!       

Like Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”      

Key #3 – Continuous Learning and Results. It's totally okay not to get results all the time. This goes back to my recent blog on hiring a team of ‘A' Players—you need more than two hands and one brain to keep up and get results. When something flops, the team's variety of skills and perceptions push the company forward, prompting new information and innovation. Ironically, this challenge is an exciting time of hidden opportunity to dig for hidden treasure and team growth. Brief frustration and discomfort leads to essential changes and greater results.  

What about your ‘A' Players? When a project doesn’t go well, ‘A' players want to be heard. As they problem-solve, they learn, grow, and adjust. They have an innate need to be part of the solution, ensuring it goes better the next time. This way, they evolve and move forward—and, so does the company. It’s powerful to all rise to the top together!

Okay, remember what you've got to work on 1) Self-Leadership 2) Effective Teamwork 3) Continuous Learning and Results. 

Now… Look through the lens of an ‘A+' Leader:

  • Which one of the “3 Keys” is currently your greatest challenge? Is there a hidden opportunity? 
  • Which is your team’s greatest challenge? Where is their hidden opportunity? 
  • What two things can you and the team learn from a recent disappointing outcome? (What would you do differently next time to achieve desired results?)

This is leadership!
– Annie

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