Whether you are an employee or employer, you definitely have faced the truth that the motivation of workers is highly diverse.
Steve Jobs categorized his employees into three groups.
Jobs stated that there are A, B and C employees, each of those with different characteristics regarding their work ethic and engagement in the job.
“A” employees are the rock-stars. The ones who push toward their goals and step up the business. Their main characteristic is that they hold themselves accountable for their actions. They know that they can make a difference in the company while also knowing how to admit their mistakes if something goes wrong.
“B” employees are people who are willing to join the path to success, but not go the extra mile. If B employees make mistakes, they are likely going to make excuses and find explanations instead of holding themselves accountable.
“C” employees are the ones who curb the business down, the ones who lack motivation and do not benefit the organization.
Steve Jobs’ rule was to only hire A employees. He stated that B employees have to either be transformed into A employees or fired, while C employees have no chance at all.
Jobs believed that A people would attract more A people, B people would hire C people as employees, and that A people would ultimately get demotivated by B and C employees. Which could result in a rapid downward spiral driving demotivated A employees to leave the company.
In short: Jobs would only hire the best people and would not tolerate poor performance.
Whilst trying to find the best people, Jobs also kept the pareto principle in mind — he always sought the 20% of people who accounted for 80% of a company’s success.
What can we learn from Jobs?
As I am a fan of lifelong learning and continuous improvement, there are some important lessons to be learned from the ABC categorization that can be applied to our lives.
One crucial question to ask yourself is: In which parts of my life am I an A person? As stated previously, A people are the motivators. Those with whom the majority of people want to connect and make business. It is crucial to know your own strengths and play to them. Know your A qualities.
A people are those with a vision, a purpose — something that drives them to strive to be the best, every single day.
When forming a team, keep in mind that even the best team is only as good as the individuals that make it up.
Good vibes and high motivation are key to unleash enormous performance and create outstanding work.
It is actually impossible to be highly successful while hating what you are doing all day. So when forming a team, recruiting employees, or seeking out productive business partners, think twice and ask yourself: Do I really want to choose people who lack passion for what they do? Probably not.
In fact, choose people who are willing and happy to work. Overachievers. Those who take responsibility for their actions and desire to make a difference.
What about your experiences working with people with varying levels of motivation? I am excited to get insights into your stories!