The 4 Letter Word that Separates “A Players” from the Rest

It matters more than you think

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They say that no one cares more about a business than its CEO or Founder, and there may be some truth to that. However, I think “A players” regardless of their position within an organization, care just as much because they are driven to do great work and have high standards. But I don’t think great work or high standards separate “A players” from the rest. I think it’s a little bit more than that, and by that I am referring to a little, four-letter word: CARE.

There’s a lot of buzz words and lists for what makes great leaders, managers and team members, but in my opinion, it all comes down to their ability to care. Yes, the best of the best actually care, full stop. They care about their team members, their customers, their community, their business, their work, their tasks at hand, their word, their responsibilities, their growth, their contributions – they just truly, genuinely and authentically care. You see, teams are not teams because they simply work together. They are a team because they trust, respect and care for each other. Caring starts by being an active contributing team member: putting in the work when no one is watching and pushing the business forward regardless of your rank, because you know others depend on you and the business depends on you. Within my organization, I’ve created the autonomy where everyone can collaborate on strategy, remove bottlenecks, work together to foster a winning culture, make decisions and most importantly take care of each other personally and professionally. In my opinion, the ability for a person or organization to simply care is a major competitive advantage.

Now, finding people who care is a very smart business move. For example, in the context of an “exit strategy”, building an organization filled with people who care brings you one step closer to building a self-sufficient business. A self-sufficient business (aka a “Switzerland structure”) is one of’s pillars to creating a valuable and sellable business. The truth is, if you’re the only one who cares, you’re most likely the lifeblood of the business. If that’s the case, you’ve doomed the business to failure. Also, finding people who care is a great corporate strategy as it increases your talent density. A smaller group of talented people who care will run circles around a bigger group of talented people who don’t. People who care generally do better work with greater speed. This also attracts others who care and thrive within a fast-paced, high performing environment, making your organization an ideal place to work.

Aside from business, caring matters within our communities as well. If the pandemic has showed us one thing, it has shown us the difference between those who care and those who don’t. When you have people within an organization or community that don’t care, it’s extremely difficult to align and achieve common goals.

Jay-Z once said:

A man who doesn’t care about his family can’t be rich.

I think that extends even further into to your life, your business and your community. If you don’t practice care in everything you do, you’ll never be rich – and I don’t only mean financially, but spiritually, emotionally, physically and intellectually. And getting started is pretty simple: remove anything you do not wholeheartedly care about from your life and only put your energy towards the things you do care about.

My takeaway for business leaders is this: practice “OQP” (only quality people). An “A player” dedicates a big portion of their life to working on their craft, executing on tasks, learning from failures and moves forward relentlessly to build a business and life that adds value to the world. So, you need to protect your time and energy. The only way to do that is to surround yourself with quality people who care and proactively contribute to a winning formula, knowing that contributing and chasing a vision is the only real reward.

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