I was recently on a strategy session call with a prospect called Tony.
Tony is in his 60’s and had been running his own practice for over 25 years.
And one of the questions I asked Tony was “how many hours a week do you work in your practice on average?”
Then came a long silence…
“Well Rudi… I work 8 hours a day, and 7 days a week”.
I have to admit, I nearly fell off my chair when I heard this response.
This level of work is completely unsustainable, so we set about trying to figure out what the cause might be, and we started by looking at his team.
And the exercise I took Tony though is called the A+ formula.
The A+ Formula
The A+ formula is a simple exercise I created to get a high-level overview of who is in your team and whether they’re actually any good (or not).
It’s purposefully basic. It’s easy to start bringing multiple variables into play when assessing your team members, but this simple exercise will give you a good high-level overview in less than 10 minutes.
It works like this:
A + A = A+
The first A stands for ‘Attitude’, and the second A stands for ‘Ability in their current role’.
Attitude + Ability = A+
And for both attitude and ability, we give each member of your team an average ranging from 0-10, where a 0 is absolutely terrible and a 10 is incredible.
Then, we take the average of those two numbers, and figure out if your team members are A+ or not.
My rule of thumb is that an A+ person is somebody who scores 8+. If somebody scores less than an 8 then you have to ask yourself the question, “why is this person on my team?”.
These points are worth noting:
Don’t overthink it – Trust your gut. Most of the time the first number that pops into your head will be the right one. It shouldn’t take longer than a couple of seconds per person.
Low attitude scores – It’s very rare that people with a bad attitude ever change. Ask yourself, “do I want to pay them for the next X number of years while they decide to maybe change their attitude?”. One rotten apple is all it takes…
Low ability scores – This can ultimately come down to one of two things. Either we have a square peg in a round hole situation i.e. the right person in the wrong role. And if this is the case we either have to find them a more suitable role or if not, move them on. The other reason could be a training issue. If this is the case, then this is your responsibility to put right.
Now when I did this exercise with Tony we identified that he had at least 2 reasonably well-paid managers, who simply weren’t pulling their weight.
But it was only after doing this, that Tony could see it clearly written down in front of him.
Have a go at doing this exercise for the team in your accountancy practice. It doesn’t take long and it’s extremely insightful.
Here is an example scorecard:
|Name||Attitude (0-10)||Ability (0-10)||Average||Result?|
|Liz||6||8||7||Why is this person in my team?|
|Maria||9||6||7.5||Is the ability a training issue or the right person in the wrong role?|
Are you aiming for the Olympic gold?
When I’m doing this exercise with clients I often use the analogy of aiming for the Olympic gold.
If you’re an athlete and you want to win the Olympic Gold, then you absolutely need an A+ team of people behind you.
Can you settle for a B-team or a C-team? Sure, but your chances of winning the Olympic Gold are greatly reduced (if not impossible).
Now in your case, your Olympic gold will be whatever your Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) is.
In Tony’s case it was to go from working 7 days a week to 3 days week. Quite a stretch I know but entirely possible.
It will be different for different people.
But the point is that unless you have an A+ team of people behind you, the chances of you winning that Olympic Gold are much less.
Do you currently have an A+ team in your accountancy practice? And if not, then ask yourself why?
Leadership is about doing the right thing, not the comfortable thing.
Move the wrong people on and build a team that will help you win gold.