Bring Your “A” Game

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The corporate world is competitive place. Whether you are competing against yourself or hundreds of your peers, you’ve got to bring your “A” game if you want to win. Working mothers have to be more effective than their colleagues. Is it fair? No—it’s just a reality. ”A” players are worth their weight in gold, whereas “B” players are a dime a dozen. 

In school, there isn’t that much of a difference between an A and a B. It can be as little as one point. But in business, the differences are immense. An “A” player gets results—often in less time. They are incredibly effective, confident, and decisive. ”B” players also get results—they are solid performers. However, the difference is in the way they approach their work. They have a much more relaxed style which sometimes can be viewed as unmotivated.

The latest generation to enter the workforce has created an ever increasing pool of “B” players sporting serious entitlement issues. This is making it even easier to distinguish between the two—good news if you are serious about getting ahead. If you’ve been coasting along at work, there is good news—it’s never too late to step up your game. Why should you? Check out some of the perks of being a shining star:

More Flexibility
Flexibility at work can either be a benefit that management will happily accommodate or a burden on the organization. The difference between the two is usually the person requesting the flexibility. 

I worked with an executive who was definitely an “A” player in her company. She was known for taking two-hour lunches and cutting her workday short to attend to family matters. Plus, she worked from home one day a week. But when she was at work, she was on fire. This type of schedule wouldn’t be tolerated for long by someone who was simply coasting along. 

Paul Purcell, chairman and president of Robert W. Baird, was recently quoted in a Wall Street Journal article saying “If we can get 50 percent to 70 percent of an A player’s time vs. 100 percent of a B player, we will always choose the A player.”

Name Recognition
Think upper management doesn’t keep tabs on their top talent? Think again. “A” players are well known by the people who really matter—the decision makers—greatly increasing their odds of a rapid climb up the corporate ladder. 

American Idol is a great example of how name recognition can boost your career. What I find so fascinating about the show is not the performances but the strategy behind the competition. I can almost always predict who will get the least amount of votes just based on the way the show is edited. There is a direct correlation between the amount of face time a person gets and how far he or she goes in the competition. Same principle applies to your career. 

Increased Stock
Smart companies don’t want to lose their top talent to the competition—ever. They want to make sure these employees know how much they are worth and what better way to do that than with money? Salary increases are a budgeted expense. Typically, the budgeted amount is divided between eligible employees. The higher your stock—the bigger your raise and/or bonus.


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