What grade of player are you?

Are you a top performer? Someone who pulls it out of the bag every time? The “Go-To” person if there’s a tough challenge to beat?

Or do you coast along? Survive by doing the bare minimum? Wrap your token efforts in apologies and excuses and call it “work”?

This is how I judge you…

Situation Behaviour
A Team

“The Stellar”

B Team

“The Mediocre”

C Team

“The Liability”

Meeting a deadline Always meets deadlines, apart from rare exceptional circumstances.

In the rare situations where they know they won’t meet a deadline, they will let the recipient know in advance.

Sometimes meets deadlines. Where they miss a deadline they do still manage to deliver, albeit late.

Provides an explanation when they are chased about a missed deadline.

Rarely meets deadlines. Requires repeated chasing to get even late work in.

Thinks that providing an excuse makes missing a deadline ok.

Dealing with complications Anticipates likely complications and mitigates them.

Habitually schedules enough contingency into their work patterns so that they still deliver quality work to deadline whatever complications may arise.

Doesn’t really anticipate complications ahead of time.

Compensates for any complications that do arise by rushing things.

Uses the presence of complications to justify delivering work late.

Tripped up by the most basic of complications.

Uses even trivial complications to justify not finishing work.

Has an attitude of “oh well, there’s a complication in the way, so I can’t get that work done”

Quality of work Delivers solid quality work which always nails the brief.

Anticipates the recipient’s likely requirements and delivers to those even where that exceeds the brief.

Their work “shines”.

Delivers work which mostly meets the brief. Never goes any further.

Their work is “satisfactory”. It does the job, no more.

When they do deliver, the work only partly meets the brief.

Their work feels “half-arsed”, “shoddy” or “flaky”.

Making mistakes Rarely makes mistakes, and mistakes that they do make are understandable and usually unavoidable.

Owns up to mistakes made and apologises.

Uses their mistakes to learn, adjusting their behaviour for the future.

Not too infrequently makes mistakes. Some of them are avoidable.

Makes excuses for their mistakes, or tries to blame some external cause for their mistakes.

Only learns from the big mistakes, and only to avoid repeating them.

Doesn’t look at the nuances within those mistakes to learn.

Regularly makes mistakes. Many of which are avoidable. Generally incompetent.

When challenged about their mistakes, blame-shifts their mistakes onto other things or other people.

Makes the same mistakes over and over again. Incapable of learning from them.

Repairing errors In the rare occasions that problems arise with their work, they spot them, they examine the impact, and come up with their own suggestions for fixing it.

Swiftly executes the repairing plan which usually involves putting themselves out to fix the issue.

Capable of spotting problems with their work. Waits to be told how to fix them.

Fixes problems when told. Only puts themselves out when trying to “cover up” their mistakes.

Makes a big song and dance about how they are going the extra mile when fixing things.

Completely unaware of problems. They have to be pointed out.

Reluctant to fix problems with their work. Only capable of fixing them when they are told how to fix them. Need to be repeatedly prompted to do so.

Taking praise Is thankful for praise. Redirects the praise onto their team.

Responds by highlighting the positive contributions others have made to bring about the good result.

Uses praise as a fuel to deliver more and motivate their team.

Consumes the praise. Pats themselves on the back repeatedly.

Uses praise as “currency”, i.e. to compensate for past or future failures. So long as they are in credit, they see no problem with slacking off for a bit.

Consumes the praise. Goes on and on about it to others for weeks on end.

Uses it to deflect future criticism for the next few months. “Well just remember that 5 weeks ago I did that thing you really liked”

Working with others Believes that the only thing which matters is what the whole team delivers collectively.

Keeps everyone on the team well informed about the situation at all times.

Spots when someone is struggling and goes out of their way to help them deliver.

Motivates everyone. Gives everyone continuous feedback but in a motivating way. (e.g. “that bit is really good, for this bit, how about trying Y instead of X?”)

Believes that the only thing which matters is what they deliver as an individual.

Waits for someone else to tell them what to do. Updates the team only when asked to do so.

Lets others languish in difficulty.

Believes that the only thing which matters is themselves looking good relative to others.

Keeps quiet and tries to avoid having to do any work.

Actively sabotages others to make themselves look better relatively.

Learning Has a habitual hunger for learning.

Continuously pushes their boundaries, refines existing skills and picks up new skills. Sources the relevant materials themselves to do so.

Knows when a their skill or knowledge could do with improvement and puts in effort to improve it.

Only learns when told what to learn.

Will only improve a skill or learn a new one when told to do so and when the right materials are provided for them.

Incapable of learning. Even if spoon-fed the material.
Time management Makes good estimates of how long tasks will take them.

Knuckles down and gets on with the task. Is not distracted by interruptions.

Works efficiently so they can keep their leisure time free from work.

Makes fairly poor estimates of how long tasks will take them.

Not really capable of doing an intense burst of work. Can sit down to get stuff done, but frequently distracted by interruptions.

Has to compensate by letting work spill into their leisure time.

Incapable of making time estimates.

When attempting to work, spends most of their time fannying about (watching TV / checking Facebook / chatting to others in the office).

Measuring success Believes that success is measured by their output AND how much they boost their team.

E.g. work quality x work quantity x productivity boost they give their team

Face-time is immaterial. Only what the team actually produces matters, not how long it took.

Believes that success is measured partly by the face-time they show and partly by their output.

E.g. doing mediocre work is ok if they’ve shown their face in the office for 60 hours this week.

Believe that success is entirely down to face-time. Turning up is 95% of the job.

E.g. So long as they arrive before their boss and leave after their boss every day, it doesn’t matter if they produce sod-all all week.

Reaching a decision Can make decisions, and their decisions are nearly always good ones.

Uses a scientific approach to reach decisions where possible: Seeks data / evidence, weighs it all up, and applies logical reasoning to come to a decision.
Takes on-board the range of views of the whole team.
Is not frightened to change their mind in light of new evidence or a compelling argument.
Where there is no data, no evidence and no compelling team viewpoints; uses sound logical reasoning to reach a decision.

Struggles to make decisions, looks to others to make the decisions for them.

Finds data and evidence a bit perplexing.

Gets buffeted about by the differing viewpoints from their team instead of processing them and drawing them together.

Makes decisions on a whim.

Sticks stubbornly to their decision no matter what contradictory evidence or compelling team argument arises.

Overrules their team, isn’t interested in others’ viewpoints.

Innovating Spots where inventing something novel and valuable might be possible.

Goes chasing curiosities to see where they might lead, without this jeopardising their main work.

Thinks “outside of the box” frequently.

Doesn’t really “get” innovation. Can only see what’s immediately in front of them.

Happy to go with a plan of change so long as someone tells them what to do.

Actively resists change. Is scared of change.

Tries to block new ideas because it makes them feel uncomfortable.

Punctuality On time, pretty much every time.

They have anticipated likely bad weather or travel problems and have factored that into their schedule.

The only time they are ever late is due to extreme force-majeure events (unexpected really bad weather). In which case they ring ahead and let everyone know.

Usually on-time. Sometimes late.

Come armed with excuses when they are late. Doesn’t build contingency into their schedule so even fairly trivial hiccups can cause them to be late.

Usually late. Sometimes doesn’t show up at all.
Opportunity Spots opportunities everywhere and grabs them firmly and chases them.

Lays the groundwork for catching future opportunities.

Doesn’t usually spot opportunities themselves unless really obvious.

Can see the value of opportunities though. Pursues an opportunity when told to do so.

Blind to opportunities. Doesn’t see the value in opportunities.

Won’t chase an opportunity. At best gets dragged along by it.


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