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It’s late in the game and your team is losing. Your quarterback is injured and benched. With minutes left on the clock, your team looks to you make the critical decision. Are you ready? According to a recent Oxford Economics study, odds are you might not be!

Believe it or not, this is a decision that organizations face on a daily basis and find themselves asking, “Have we identified our next star players?", "Who’s ready if an A player leaves?”, and "Are we doing everything to attract and develop more A players to help us reach our goals?” It all starts with leadership!! Per the study, only 44% of employees think their leaders are equipped to lead the organization to success.

Business Leadership must first believe their workforce is their most important resource, and by fully developing them, it will lead their organization to achieving its objectives. But more importantly, when leaders believe they have the BEST talent, the organization can actually exceed its objectives. It all starts with Leaders setting the right tone. They must decide whether they want to settle just for the C and B players or focus on going after the A Players. According to Dr. Brad Smart, author of Topgrading, in order for an organization to be successful and maintain its ability to be successful, it must have 90% A Players and 10% B Players. What is your workforce make-up?

Most organizations claim that they have a “robust” succession planning process. This process entails a performance management period which includes employee and management evaluations, employee ratings and rankings, and some sort of performance matrix to determine high talent, successors, role readiness, etc. The question you must ask is, “Now what?” What do I do with this data? Too often organizations complete this process, check the box and say, “Well another year of performance reviews is done.”  According to Oxford Economics, only 52% of leadership have the right skills to manage their talent.

The fact of the matter is that companies who truly take succession planning seriously and develop a robust bench of top players can expect significant return. By hiring top players, you eliminate your cost of mis-hires, reduce turnover, increase productivity, and increase efficiency and organization profitability. In a study conducted by Frank L Schmidt and John E Hunter, The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology: Practical and Theoretical Imp...,  they found that among professional and management employees a top or “Superior” worker out performers a low performer or “Non Producer” by 96% and that the same top or “Superior” worker out performs a good performer or “Average” performer by 48%.  If you invest in your talent, this can make a huge impact to the organization’s bottom line.

So it’s decision time Coach: What are you going to do? Are you going to rummage through your bench of B and C players, hire an external resource with unproven abilities, or are you going to invest in developing the right programs to up-skill your B and C players to be ready to step in and play?

As you ponder about this message, I would encourage you to think about three things:

  1. What is the A, B, and C make-up of my team?

  2. Do I have enough A players to fill current or unforeseen gaps?

  3. Am I doing enough to develop the B and C players?

For additional reading on the importance of leadership, take a look at Oxford Economics research study based on the Leadership Cliff findings.