How to Spend your Training Time? Follow the Numbers

Every team has A and B players. And every manager needs to decide how to spend his or her time training – does she work hard with the B player trying to bring them up to speed? Or analyze an A player’s performance to see how they can get even better? The answer? Follow the numbers.

It’s simple math. If a B performer produces $100 in sales, and the manager spends 20% of her time with that person and doubles their productivity, they have now increased from $100 to $200. A total net increase of $100 in sales. However, if an A performer produces $1000 in sales, and the manager spends the same amount of time with them and doubles their output, they are now producing $2000 or a net increase of $1000 in sales.

Which is a better use of the manager’s time, to increase the performance of the already high performers, or to constantly work with the low performers? The problem is that we are naturally drawn to fix the broken. We breathe a sigh of relief knowing that our A players “got it” and we are then free to push, prod, and try to motivate the B players to be more like the A players. Unfortunately the truth is a B player will never be an A player. And if we let them, they will draw every resource we have trying to achieve the impossible.

So focus on the A players. Give them a majority of your allotted training time. Get them to the next level. Listen to their ideas.

For your B players? Train them, nurture them. Grow them the best you can, just be careful to limit your time with them. Let them see where your priorities are. The only way a B player will make the jump to A is if they find it within themselves and finally “get it”.

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