If I asked you who the A players were in your company, could you name them right now? If the answer is, “No,” then here is an exercise I learned from a mentor of mine that you can do. Take some time and write down everyone’s name who works for you.

Now I want you to use the following criteria to rate them as either an A, B or C player on your team. Keep in mind that the criteria I am using can be modified to fit your company’s needs. I just want to get you thinking about what might constitute the differences between the various letters.

A players: They are always on time, rarely call off and if they do it’s legitimate. They help solve problems and take initiative. They want to learn and grow with the company. They are easy to manage and have a positive attitude. They come to work in uniform and look professional. They are happy to train and help teach new hires. They take ownership of their work. They manage small issues themselves and figure out ways to get things done on their own. They rarely complain. These people are generally the leaders in your organization – the foremen and managers.

B players: Their attendance isn’t perfect, and they do call off occasionally. When they take time off they always give you notice or call in the morning. They will do what they are told and get the job done but not without supervision. They will pay attention during company meetings but will not initiate any other learning. They can’t train or lead other people but may have the potential to do so. The don’t always take ownership of the work but care about their individual tasks. These people have potential to move up to become A players but need more training and mentoring to do so.

C players: Their attendance is spotty; they call off, come in late or just don’t show up at all. They complain and constantly gripe about the problems in the company: “Oh, this equipment is junk; why don’t they buy new trucks?” They are hard to manage but do just enough to get by. They basically are working for a paycheck and nothing more.

The idea here is to use this system to get a better picture of your organization and the people who work in it. Hopefully you have mostly A and B players, but I know that is not always the case. Your goal should be to bring your B players up to A player status with training and mentoring. Try to get your C players to become B players the same way. If that can’t be accomplished, then the C players need to go.

Continually evaluate your team, doing this exercise a few times per year. Use some of your own criteria as well and your company will benefit from this exercise.