I speak to a ton of corporate leaders and small business owners. Jobs in their companies sit open & unfilled for months on end — even though the unemployment rate is still high and there are people begging for work.
“There is a war for talent,” they tell me. “Where are the A players? We only want to hire A players.”
So let’s take a look at how corporate leaders, managers, and business owners define those ‘A’ players.
- You work really hard and pour your heart & soul into a company/brand.
- You are innovative but willing to turn over intellectual property you develop.
- You don’t ask for money because you are working for something more than money.
- You understand that sometimes a company will fail — but you don’t care because you like risk.
- Even though you like risk, there is nothing risky about your personality that will damage a company’s reputation.
Wow. Those aren’t ‘A’ players. Those are robots — or maybe monkeys — who act out some weird, hippie fantasy that work is about passion and dreams. Not cash. Nope. Not about money at all.
I want to write a new list and define great employees. Here’s my first draft.
- They have skills. They can do something important and in demand.
- They have integrity. Principles matter. Executive leaders and business owners have responsibilities to the country, to workers, and to the community.
- They can commit to the job and its responsibilities. They live up to those commitments every single day.
- They enjoy working hard and challenging their brains. Great employees don’t shovel corporate dog poop.
- When they make a mistake, they own it and apologize. They also expect a second chance to make things right.
Great employees are hard to find — but so is a really great person because most people suck. So when you find a great employee, don’t mess it up with sententious statements about brands and values and teams. And know this: people with integrity will not deal with people who don’t operate honestly. Think twice before you present a low-ball offer.
And if you are a great employee, learn to tell your story so that you’re sharing both your skills and your philosophies. Tell an interviewer what you have to offer — but talk about what matters to you in a job, in a boss, and in a company. And be willing to walk away if the job isn’t right.
That’s how we make progress in this world.