A-Player’s Hierarchy Of Needs

What Your Team Members Need To Be A-Players At Work

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Most entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking A-Players have the same needs as them.

What you need to be a rockstar entrepreneur, is different from what your team needs to be an A-Player. Confusing the two will prevent you from building your dream team.

Today at a Glance:

  • The Hierarchy of Needs for A-Players

  • What your A-Players need at each level

  • How to give them what they need to elevate to the next level

A-Player’s Hierarchy of Needs

Your job as an entrepreneur, founder, or business owner is to build up a team of A-Players who can operate your business and actualize your vision.

If you want to do that, you must first understand what A-Players need to be A-Players.

You’re probably familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which outlines the levels of human needs.

From the bottom of the pyramid, there are the fundamental needs of:

  • Physiological needs (water, food, housing, etc.)

  • Safety

  • Love and Belonging

  • Esteem

Then going up the pyramid are the higher-level needs:

  • Cognitive

  • Aesthetic

  • Self-Actualization

  • Transcendence

When your needs at the current level are met, you elevate to the next level with a new set of needs.

Here’s the thing, what your needs will look like (as an entrepreneur) can be very different from what your team members’ needs (as an employee or contractor) will look like.

As entrepreneurs, we often make the mistake of thinking they want what we want.

We want freedom (aka fewer meetings, more space to do whatever we want).

They don’t want too much freedom. Yes, they want autonomy, but they also need:

  • Clear outcomes they’re supposed to work towards

  • Feedback and validation to know they’re on the right track

  • Celebration when they hit the outcomes

  • Then next outcomes so they can keep growing and achieving

This requires the right amount of meetings, the right amount of space, and the right amount of guidance and structure.

To build up A-Players, you must understand what they need at each level and provide it to them. Let’s explore what those can be!


We’re going to skip Physiological Needs because that’s the same for both you and your team members.

For Safety, they need:

  • Job security

  • To know what the baseline of performance is required

  • To know what’s going to cost them their job security

As an entrepreneur, your tolerance for risk and danger is much higher. Theirs is less so providing them what they need to “feel” safety is essential.

Action: Create clear Role Scorecards that outline the baseline expectations of their Role, Responsibilities, Results, and Requirements.


A-Players need:

  • To feel like they’re part of and contributing to the team

  • To feel Seen & Heard

At work, you may find your belonging and love through your network of colleagues and masterminds you’re in.

Your A-Players may not have their own masterminds, so at work, they’ll need to find belonging through their team.

Action: Create opportunities for them to contribute their unique perspectives, ideas, and opinions…and be seen and heard regardless if they’re right or wrong.


A-Players need:

  • To feel recognized for their expertise and skills

  • To feel self-confident in their role

You find self-confidence through the results of your business and accomplishments. They find self-confidence through the results of their role.

Action: Provide clear expectations of results, outcomes and KPI targets so that there can be clear evidence when they’re winning.


A-Players need:

  • To feel like they’re learning and growing

  • To feel challenged and motivated to rise to the next level

Learning and growing are built into your role as an entrepreneur by default. To be challenged is in your nature.

Learning, growing, and challenges are not always built into your team member’s roles.

Action: Set big goals and outcomes with them to challenge them, and provide coaching and mentorship to help them achieve their goals. Then keep setting bigger goals so they can keep winning.


A-Players here need:

  • To feel in AWE of the impact they’re making

  • To see and appreciate the beauty and joy within their work

You will experience the AWE of the impact your business is making. But your A-Players may not until you make it clear how their role and work is connected to the impact your business is making.

Action: Make the connection between their Role and work to the impact it makes for your business and clients. Highlight the beauty of their work and results.


A-Players need:

  • To feel like they’re unraveling their highest potential

  • To see clearly what mastery looks like and the path to get there

  • To know at what point they need to move beyond their current role here

Help them achieve their fullest potential here. Sometimes, that means being clear with them when they need to move into a new role or even move on to a new company to get to the next level.

The most transformational thing for me when I was an employee, was when my boss told me, “Colin, you’re done here, you need to go start your own business and share your expertise with the world.”

Action: Create a career growth roadmap with them and a game plan to get there. Provide them with the mentorship and resources they need.


A-Players here need:

  • To feel like they’re elevating and operating at a higher level of consciousness at work and outside of work

The highest level of transformation you can provide your A-Players is giving them what they need to raise the level of consciousness they operate at.

This goes beyond professional development, it’s personal and spiritual growth.

They become more than just an A-Player at your company, they become an A-Player in life.

Action: provide personal growth coaching and mentorship to help them grow beyond just their career but also as a person.


There you have it, an A-Player’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Where to start?

  • Pick 1-2 of your top A-Players on your team

  • Do a 1:1 with them and review the Hierarchy of Needs together

  • Explore which level they feel their needs are not fully being met

  • Create an action plan and start leveling up your A-Players

  • Repeat with each team member

Develop A-Players on your team by meeting them at whichever stage they’re at and providing them with what they need to get to the next level.

Colin’s Recommendations

Cool tools and things I personally use and rave about…

Magai: one of my favorite AI tools that my team and I use daily.

What I like about it:

  • I get premium versions of GPT-4 and Claude 2 for one subscription

  • Can create custom AI Personas and save them for quick access

  • Can save prompts I like and easily share it with my team

  • Folders where my team can organize chats (marketing, content, operations, etc)

  • Can generate images with Midjourney

  • Can read PDFs and auto-fetch YouTube transcripts

Pretty much an all-in-one AI tool for me and my team, with one subscription.

The Weekly Round-Up

Awesome content and things I’ve shared this past week…

How I Can Help You Grow Your Business

When you’re ready…

Check out my Business OS to see how I can help you implement a business management system that’ll supercharge your team and get you from “drowning in work” to an extra free day every week.

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