If you were the owner of a NBA basketball team, one of your top goals would be to have the best players on your team. With only five players on the court at any one time, every one of them is critical to winning. If you don’t do a good job hiring the right players, your team won’t win many games. And eventually the fans will stop coming out and spending their money on tickets. In other words, the success of your winning team is to have the right players on the floor at all times.
Business owners tell me they can’t find any good help. But how much time do they actually spend finding the right players? What you get is a direct result of your priorities. When you don’t take enough time to find, cultivate, and train new players, how do you expect to grow a winning team? Professional sports teams have a full time executive in charge of player personnel – finding the right players, managing their contracts, and keeping them happy. But most small companies don’t spend more than a few hours a year making sure their roster is balanced, robust, and excellent.
Before the annual draft, every professional sports coaching staff makes a list of all the positions and their current players to analyze what they need to change or add to improve. In your company, the draft is now. To get started, make a list of all of your company positions, the talents required at each job, the player currently assigned each position, and then rank how well you think they are doing.
Player Personnel Ranking Chart
Position Talent Required Player Ranking
- Estimator Knows accurate costs Jim B C+
- Completes bids on-time Jim B A-
- Maximizes sub-bid coverage Jim B B-
- Presents company well Jim B B
- Project Manager Manages budget Bill C+
- Maximizes change orders Bill B
- Keeps customer happy Bill A
- Paperwork on-time Bill B-
- Superintendent Finishes jobs on-time Dave A
- Pushes crews to the max Dave B+
- Safe jobsite and no accidents Dave C-
- Coordinates subcontractors Dave B-
- Foreman Manages crews and jobsite Sam B-
- Brings jobs in under budget Sam C
- Knows how to build quality Sam A
- Follows company procedures Sam C-
- Carpenter Can build per plans Joe A-
- Hustles & works efficiently Joe B
- Takes initiative & action Joe B-
- Team Player & good attitude Joe D
- Office Manager Completes tasks on-time Sue B-
- Understands accounting Sue C+
- Understands construction Sue B+
- Team player & good attitude Sue A
By taking a hard look at your player roster and what talent you really need, you can be objective about what you need to do to improve your win & loss record. Using the chart above, you’ll find you have some players who appear to excel at certain parts of their job, while lacking talent in other areas. Superintendent Dave finishes his jobs on-time but doesn’t follow the company safety rules nor plans ahead with subcontractors. This chart makes your choices obvious: 1) keep Dave and allow him to run an unsafe job, 2) give him an ultimatum, or 3) replace him with a better superintendent.
Carpenter Joe has been with the company a long time. He works hard, knows what to do, and works efficiently. But his attitude stinks and his negative demeanor permeates throughout the crew and makes everyone miserable. What should you do with him? You may have some players who have been with your company for a long time and are not completely fulfilling the total requirements of the job. This forces you to cover for them where they are weak. Is it time to replace them too?
Your business is no different than a professional basketball team. You need every position filled with the best player you can find and afford. You need shooters, forwards, playmakers, rebounders, fast-breakers, passers, and defensive guards. In your company you need the best salespeople, managers, leaders, organizers, coordinators, coaches, and accounting people who keep track of things. When you don’t have the best available, it costs you money and makes it impossible to win your game of business against your competition and customers.