Investing in Your A-Players

Posted on May 6, 2024
Share via

By Sabrina Starling, PhD

Do you have A-Players on your team? What’s your plan for retaining them?

Your A-Players come to work everyday and pour themselves into advancing your vision for the business. They deserve a similar investment from you in their hopes, dreams, goals and ambitions.

This creates a mutually beneficial relationship, which is something greater than the typical transactional relationship A-Players have with their employers. It’s an opportunity for you to stand out as an “Employer of Choice” for the A-Players you want to attract to your team. 

The #1 reason A-Players leave is a better opportunity elsewhere. We can prevent that by making sure that the opportunity with us is as good as it can possibly be. 

In my research with over 230 entrepreneurs, I’ve learned that the majority are not putting effort into developing A-Players:

  • 8 out of 10 lack a system for retaining A-Players.
  • 8 out of 10 are not developing their teams.
  • 2 out of 3 are not providing 1:1 meetings for team members.
  • 2 out of 3 are not paying attention to team members working from strengths.

This is a significant oversight in small businesses, as the #1 struggle small business owners identify is hiring A-Players. While it’s a significant oversight, it creates a tremendous opportunity for you – if you are willing to invest in developing your A-Players. 

Be intentional to get to know your A-Players: 

What is important to them?

What are their hopes and dreams?

What are their ambitions?

What drives them?

What do they value?

Look for ways to support them. Identify training opportunities, mentors, books, podcasts, etc. and share these with them.

At Tap the Potential, we are utilizing A-Player Development Plans that are accessible to the team member, as well as members of our Leadership Team. This creates the opportunity for multiple leaders to have awareness around the dreams and ambitions of our A-Players, engage in mentoring conversations and share resources.

Identifying clear opportunities for advancement that align with your A-Players’ strengths and ambitions is another key to retention. You might be surprised that while you see opportunities for your A-Players to advance, many A-Players are unclear about their advancement opportunities in your business.

Clarify and share your vision for the next 3 years. Identify roles that will become open as you grow the sweet spot of your business. Share these roles with your team members and inquire as to which roles interest them. Identify the skills your A-Players need to move into those roles, and collaborate to create an action plan for how they will acquire those skills. Break this down into an 18-month Career Development Plan, with goals each quarter for your A-Player to accomplish. Track and update their progress quarterly. 

You might start off with a Kickoff Meeting to introduce your intention to support their development, followed by quarterly 30 to 45-minute meetings. Be mindful that this is only for the A-Players on your team. It’s not something to do with all of your team members. 

Download our free A-Player Development Plan Template and Mini-Course to share with your A-Players at

This is a significant investment of your time and other resources. Because it is an investment, it will pay you back in dividends. A-Players are 900-1200% more productive than warm bodies. They are sources of ideas and innovation. When you invest in developing them, they will be with you longer, and create more opportunities for the business to develop, perhaps even more than you can envision. 


Sabrina Starling, PhD, PCC, BCC, The Business Psychologist, is the international bestselling author of How to Hire the Best and The 4 Week Vacation®. Keynote speaker, founder of, and host of the top-ranking Profit by Design podcast, she and her team help entrepreneurs take their lives back from their businesses. They are on a mission to send 10,000 entrepreneurs on a 4 Week Vacation® in 10 years.