Where are the A players in schools?

Steve Jobs is alleged to have said,

“I found that when you get enough ‘A’ players together, when you go through the incredible work to find these ‘A’ players, they really like working with each other. Because most have never had the chance to do that before. And they don’t work with ‘B’ and ‘C’ players, so it’s self-policing. They only want to hire ‘A’ players. So you build these pockets of ‘A’ players and it just propagates.”

Some schools only want to hire A players (e.g., teachers with the “best” pedigrees).

Some schools only want to enroll A players (e.g., applicants with the “best” entrance exam scores).

In this zero sum worldview, only a few people are A players while everyone else is average (or below average).

The truth is that A players are everywhere, but… you can only see them if you have:

  • the right culture (e.g., one that embraces pluralism and strengths-based approaches)

  • the right tools (e.g., CliftonStrengths)

In the right culture, using the right tools, ordinary people will do extraordinary things.

Where are the A players hiding in plain sight at your school?


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Christian Talbot