Some musicians play an instrument, others play the orchestra.

Steve Jobs, the late and great CEO and founder of Apple used to play “the orchestra”.

Some people would criticize Steve for not knowing how to code or build a computer.

He was, after all, the CEO of a technology company.

But it didn’t matter to Steve. What mattered was that the engineers in the company played the instruments, while he conducted the orchestra.

In Steve’s orchestra, he only tolerated “A” players.

One of the secrets to Apple’s success is that they do not produce any mediocre products.

The iMac is an amazing product. The iPod was amazing. The iPhone is the best.

Everything they make is amazing by marrying technology with liberal arts and Apple is successful because of it’s orchestra of A players lead by the ultimate A player Steve.

In your company, in your organization, it is your job to be ruthless with mediocrity and only tolerate “A” players.

The people you surround yourself will make or break you and although every successful man or woman is indeed self-made, the team surrounding the entrepreneur is what will determine his venture’s success or demise.

A players are the superstars who are the best in the business. They are pros who get things done and solve problems. Cherish them, treat them well and keep them forever. A players are the top 20% of the population.

B players are the middle 70% of the population and have the ability to rise to become A players in the future. Train them and show them the path to becoming an A player.

C players are constantly underperforming and would have a better life somewhere else. With these people, they are the bottom 10% and it is your duty as a manager to help them find a place somewhere else in the world, just not on your ship.

If you are going to draft a sports team, make the draft unfair. Take on only A players, tolerate only A player performance. Train the B players to be A’s and help the C players move on.

Let everyone else play the instruments, while you play the orchestra.

If you are a good enough conductor, eventually the orchestra will just play itself.

“Stay hungry, stay foolish” Steve Jobs

Respect The Grind,
Stefan Aarnio