Finweek English Edition - - MANAGEMENT -

There is a com­monly-held be­lief that cor­po­rate success is largely due to the pro­lif­er­a­tion of A-team tal­ent, and so of­ten there is an over­whelm­ing im­per­a­tive to hunt down the top per­form­ers at ev­ery turn. It’s a move that of­ten leads to poor re­sults in the long run, say man­age­ment ex­perts Thomas J De­Long and Vi­neeta Vi­ja­yaragha­van: “A-play­ers, it is true, can make enor­mous con­tri­bu­tions to cor­po­rate per­for­mance. Yet in our col­lec­tive 20 years of con­sult­ing, re­search, and teach­ing, we have found that com­pa­nies’ long-term per­for­mance — even sur­vival — de­pends far more on the un­sung com­mit­ment and con­tri­bu­tions of their B-play­ers.”

B-play­ers, or even A-play­ers who have shied away from the lime­light in favour of a more man­age­able work-life bal­ance, have proven to be con­sis­tently ben­e­fi­cial to team pro­duc­tiv­ity firstly be­cause of their abil­ity to off­set the of­ten reck­less and volatile ten­den­cies of their Atype col­leagues, and se­condly, be­cause they are of­ten in­clined to get the job done with­out mak­ing too many de­mands on the CEO’s time.

Ac­cord­ing to De­Long and Vi­ja­yaragha­van: “Com­pa­nies are rou­tinely blinded to the im­por­tant role B-play­ers serve in sav­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions from them­selves. Un­for­tu­nately, or­gan­i­sa­tions rarely learn to value their B-play­ers in ways that are grat­i­fy­ing for ei­ther the com­pany or th­ese em­ploy­ees. As a re­sult, com­pa­nies see their prof­its sink­ing with­out really un­der­stand­ing why.”

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