TOR 051: How To Invest In Fewer High-Quality Employees Versus More Mediocre Ones

Here’s the latest edition of The Optimized Report newsletter, which features 1 actionable tip every Sunday to help burned-out business owners dramatically improve their performance, profit, and potential without sacrificing what’s most important — TIME.

Most businesses struggle to allocate their finite resources to the things that matter the most.

And for most of us, that’s our team. But I get it; it’s complex, confusing, and when everything looks and feels like a priority, nothing is. We resemble a hormonal teenage male trying to prowl for anything with a pulse. We make the terrible mistake of hiring to fill a role instead of hiring the best person for the team.

But, there are a few ways to invest in having fewer, more impactful team members.

The first step is understanding the four dimensions of employee growth.

Every company must quickly figure out who they need on their team and who to avoid.

High Desire / Low Competency (Dreamer): These people say they want to grow, but it’s unclear if they’re capable. Just because they say they want to grow doesn’t mean they can or will. These people require time. The sooner you discover they’ll never be competent in the role, the quicker you can decide to upgrade them out of the company.

Low Competency / Low Desire (Dead Weight): Get rid of these people as fast as you can, and even better, avoid hiring them. It’s better to have no one than this type of team member.

Low Desire / High Competency (Bed Rock aka Role Players): Role players don’t like risk. They love what they do and don’t get bored. They want to do what they do and earn a good living. A company should have at least 60–80% of its team comprised of role players.

High Competency / High Desire (Stars aka Grow Players): These team members don’t want to feel stagnant — they want growth. A company should develop and invest in these team members and have at least 20–40% of its team comprised of grow players.

Then, you must look at various ways to build strategic depth, which never starts with hiring more low-quality people.


Investing in great people is a waste when most of their time is spent on redundant, brain-dead administrative activities.

What you automate is unique to every business and industry. Still, automation is crucial to ensuring you don’t need to hire more low-quality people.

For example, in one of my companies, we sell aircraft parts (like engines) to airlines, cargo operators, and air forces all over the world.

We’ve developed our ERP system to automate sections of our core procedures, which in the past required people to execute.

For you, it could simply be hiring a Virtual Assistant to help piece together and facilitate automations in Zapier.

Whatever it is, look to automate core portions of your most important procedures.


I see many businesses with inefficient or non-existent procedures.

As a company, you must invest time and energy in creating core procedures that everyone follows the same way every time.

You then need to invest the same energy in looking for ways to eliminate waste and continually improve those procedures.

Build The Bench

It may be inevitable that you need to hire, and you should always be recruiting (not necessarily hiring).

When you discover a star, find a way to add them to your team.

But building a bench also means everyone on your team is cross-trained, so people can have a life without things falling apart.

Having people on your team who are being trained for future leadership roles is also crucial.

Build an A-team and bench like the best sports teams.


You need to give your grow players a path for growth.

There should never be any questions about where they want to go, and the company should remove all unnecessary obstacles standing in their way. Set them free, with leadership and coaching, of course.

Your role players want to earn a good living and come in day in and day out and do what they do best. So get out of their way while providing them with stability and flexibility.

Build a place people want to work for, which means treating people as humans, not some commodity that can be tossed in the trash.

Pay people well, give excellent benefits like unlimited time-off (screw the damn ping pong table), and include bonuses tied to important KPIs.

Don’t get complacent; regularly evaluate and improve compensation plans and benefits.


  • Automate as much as you can within your core procedures.
  • Eliminate waste and continually improve your procedures.
  • Always be building your team’s bench.
  • Eliminate dreamers and dead weight.
  • Invest in and retain in your role and grow players.

Subscribe to The Optimized Report, which features 1 actionable tip every Sunday to help burned-out business owners dramatically improve their performance, profit, and potential without sacrificing what’s most important — TIME.

It’s always less than a 3.5-minute read with lessons you can instantly apply.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store