You get 5 types of people

by oneafrikan on September 17, 2013

I was listening to a talk recently where the speaker talked about the 5 types of people. I’ve understood this intuitively, but for the first time I’d heard it explained in a bite sized, easy to understand way.

Basically, the speakers assertion was that in any business you get 5 types of people, and when you ask them to do something one of the following things will happen:

  1. They don’t do it
  2. They ask “how do I do it?”
  3. They ask “can I do it like this?”
  4. They just do it
  5. They do it without being asked

By and large, I’ve found this to be true and think it’s a pretty good way of thinking about how people in my business are contributing.  As a leader, I see my role as continually living in group 5, if only to lead by example.

His further assertion was that the proportion of people who belong to group 4 is about 1 in 25 and group 5, 1 in 50.  Youngsters or entry level people should always be in group 3 and up, and you should always look to hire people from group 4 and 5.   And then lastly, groups 1 and 2 should either be let go or managed out.

Of course, this is all easier said than done, but again a pretty good way to frame a hiring process which unearths these people.

Lastly, he brought up an interesting way of looking at talent and performance, which is explained below.

Employee 9 boxes

Employee 9 boxes

Basically, anyone who is red should be let go / managed out, yellow people need to be improving, and green people are the ones you build a business on.

Which one are you? ;-)


Wrong assumption: these people are stuck in a specific group.
Right assumption: a leader can greatly influence the movement of people from one group to another (in a good or bad way).

by simone brunozzi on September 17, 2013 at 7:54 pm. Reply #

Sure. I probably should have added a caveat that in the early stages (pre-revenue, pre-profit), you don’t have the time or bandwidth to grow people into stages. In a bigger more secure corp, there’s probably more room for that. Put simply, there is very little time for passengers.

by oneafrikan on September 18, 2013 at 8:16 am. Reply #

So nicely put. Another factor which seems synonymous with group 1 and 2 is asking for more money or being clock watchers.

by Nathan Jeffery on December 22, 2013 at 12:01 am. Reply #

Leave your comment


Required. Not published.

If you have one.

Protected with IP Blacklist CloudIP Blacklist Cloud