Lately, I have been finding myself in circumstances where people are asking me questions about how things work, who they can partner with to get things accomplished, and what advice I can give them regarding how to ramp up their careers. I am always willing to provide advice, but I am not sure whether I am becoming the old sage at work or if people are asking for my opinion because they know I will give them a truthful and direct answer if asked a direct question. Regardless of the reason I am being asked for my opinion, I thought it might be fun unpack the dialogue and illustrate the conversation in a format that anyone can relate to.
In order to succeed in your career, or in life, you need to identify the people who can help you out. I am not talking about the people who talk about helping out or the people who have a dozen “13.1 or 26.2” stickers on their car and at their desk. I am talking about the people who say what they mean and do what they say. When you think about it, there are not many people in the world like this, probably because there are too many excuses that are easily accessible to use when it comes time to meeting the expectations of a commitment. At the end of the day, people can be separated into two groups:
- A- Team – The Top 5% of all people. These are the people who work hard, go above and beyond what is required, creatively develop solutions to problems, and who are likely respected for their loyalty and work-ethic. A-Team players like to surround themselves with smart people, people who want to succeed and take chances. They generally wish they were the dumbest person in the room so they could learn from the people around them.
- B- Team – The 95% of the remainder of the population. They typically do their job just well enough to show they showed up, are more inclined to take credit for the work of others when things are positive and are more likely to throw someone else under the bus to make themselves look better. B-Team players are typically worried about losing their job to people who are smarter than they are and generally find themselves thinking about how they are the smartest people in the room while at the same time listing out the qualities that they feel make them smarter.
I know there are a lot of people out there who think they are on the A-Team, but let me assure you this is a small list of people. Out of 100 people you encounter on a daily basis, only about 5 of them possess the qualities of the A-Team. If you are taking offense to this post already then I think you can guess what team you are on. There are literally dozens of ways to classify someone as being on the A-Team or the B-Team, but to help you in this pursuit I have developed a list of questions to get you started. I am not suggesting you use these questions to segregate people or pass judgement onto people. Rather, I would prefer you use these questions to understand more about the people you are working with so that you can properly establish expectations for yourself and your team!
Here are the 7 Questions that will tell you if the Person you are Talking to is a Winner:
- Have you been promoted at least once in a previous role?
- The A-Team is great at what they do and good managers will pickup on that really fast. The A-Team will quickly prove themselves to be an asset and take on more responsibility to improve their objectives and the objectives of the company.
- Have you had to lead a large project in at least one of your previous roles? How did you handle it?
- The A-Team likes to take on more responsibility over time, not less. Have you been given a large responsibility or goal to achieve right out of the gate because you quickly demonstrated your ability to succeed?
- Have you always had the same type of role, or have you completely changed roles?
- The A-Team loves challenges. The A-Team is more likely to change roles within a company rather than moving from one company to another.
- Can you speak about your company, tell someone what you like and what you might change?
- The A-Team does their research ahead of time. The A-Team will network with people outside of their area, learn from the people who work behind the scenes and they often leverage the experience from prior roles to succeed in the role they are in.
- Are you confident without being cocky?
- There is a fine line to walk here, but A-Team players have relationships where as B-Team has contacts. The A-Team knows their capabilities and will drive to meet the goal.
- Are you committed to continual learning? Can you prove it?
- Anyone can say they are learning something or doing something to continue the learning process. The A-Team loves learning new skills and taking on new responsibilities, and furthermore they can prove how and what they are learning through demonstration.
- When listening to other people to do you develop and ask meaningful questions?
- The A-Team usually understands there is something more to learn. Some words can be said on the surface, but the A-Team tries to understand not only that a problem exists, but how it was created so that they can resolve the problem going forward.
So, Are you on the A-Team or the B-Team? Be Honest!