A-Players: What They Lack Is Their Greatest Strength

A-Players Aren't The Smartest, But...
Written by Aric Mitchell

Entrepreneur and Quora Top Writer Mira Zaslove recently channeled the spirit of the late Steve Jobs in sharing some very profound advice for first-time entrepreneurs.

Jobs was known for saying, “A-Players hire A-Players; B-Players Hire C-Players.” A great soundbite, but what does it mean to be an A-Player, and why is it important to hire them when it comes to making your business a success?

‘Like Attracts Like’

Zaslove summed it up well: “Like attracts like,” she said. “A top notch database designer is going to bring in a top notch web designer, who will attract the top sales and marketing team. A-players are attracted to working with a talented team that can execute. They will set the culture of excellence at your company early on.  You want the A-players leading and setting the tone.”

But that doesn’t mean A-Players are entrepreneurial know-it-alls. They’re seldom the smartest guys in the room, in fact. Steve Jobs wasn’t, and it was his realization of this that made him, perhaps, the greatest A-Player of all time.

Zaslove explains: “They [A-Players] aren’t threatened by people who know more than them. Instead they want to work with people smarter than them. They are quick to admit what they don’t know, and learn from those who can teach them. They are working for long term growth, not short term ego boosts.”

In other words, these A-Players lack all the knowledge they need to make the business successful. They need other people, and need to put their trust in those others in order to ever get off the ground. Quite frankly, great A-Players realize they’re in a position where trust and the ability to let go of every little detail are their greatest tools in building the business.

In America, we like to think of ourselves as lone wolves capable of making it purely on our raw talent and ingenuity, so this line of thought often gets swept under the rug.

But it’s very true.

“You become like the people you surround yourself with,” Zaslove reminds, “so set yourself up for success early on.”

How Do You Do It?

“Surround yourself with the best talent you can, the top people you can find. They are worth the cost,” Zaslove said. “Do everything you can to hire, retain, and motivate them. Find partners who are experts in an area you aren’t, who possess the talents that you are lacking.”

In Summary

You may have heard it said that there is a lot of freedom in letting go. In the world of business, there is also a lot of success. As Zaslove (and Jobs) point out, team is everything. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room. You only have to know who is and be willing to learn from them. That’s what will set you apart.

[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]

About the author

Aric Mitchell

Aric Mitchell has work featured on both the web and in print. His crash time is spent writing short stories, novels, and articles with a horror edge, and helping brands manage their social media presence.