Creative Genius Podcast

Season 8 Episode 3

How to Build an A-Team (Mike Michalowicz)

How to Build an A-Team (Mike Michalowicz)

Imagine how much more successful your business could be if you could optimize the full potential of each and every one of your employees. Leaders in some of today’s most successful companies, large and small, are doing just that. They’ve adopted new ways of thinking about how they hire and manage their employees. You can apply those same methods and supercharge your team to higher performance.

In this episode, Gail invites small business author Mike Michalowicz back to the podcast to discuss his new book, All In: How Great Leaders Build Unstoppable Teams. A successful entrepreneur and former columnist with The Wall Street Journal, Mike is also the author of The Pumpkin Plan, Fix This Next, and Profit First, among other top sellers.

For his new book, Mike examined how leaders in some of today’s most successful organizations have created high-performance teams. He identified four components (summed up by the acronym FASO) that aid in recruiting and retaining great talent and raise the bar of the entire organization for everybody.

  • Fit — Matching individual abilities not to titles or roles but to client and company needs, as well as to organizational culture
  • Ability — Hiring individuals for their future potential, not just their past performance or qualifications
  • Safety — Creating a work environment that ensures physical, psychological and relational safety
  • Ownership — Instilling in employees a sense of psychological ownership where everyone cares as much about the success of the company as the owners / leaders do.

Mike explained that allowing employees to exploit their innate and potential abilities and talents results in higher performance and greater satisfaction. That leads to higher rates of retention and psychological ownership.

Gail asked Mike how an employer can identify a prospective employee’s potential abilities. He proposed inviting prospects to a workshop where they can experience first-hand—and the employer can observe first-hand—how they will respond to various tasks required of the job.

Employees rise to the level of top performers, or A-players on the team, when they are put in an environment where they can thrive. “Every human being on the planet is an A-player,” Mike said. “Just many of us are an A-player in waiting.” The key is finding the right fit and environment for each employee. The payoff is exponential. “One A-player can perform at the level of three B-players,” said Mike.

During their conversation, Mike also talked about the characteristics of great leaders, the leadership style needed for today’s remote and hybrid workplaces, and the five phases of the hiring process that will ensure a successful hire. For all that and more, listen to the entire podcast. And, of course, read the book.

If you’re listening on your favorite podcast platform, read the full shownotes here:

Mentioned in This Podcast

For information about Mike and all of his books, visit his website at

For more details about All In, where to purchase a copy, and request a packet of free resources to help get you starting building your A team, go to

Listen to Mike Michalowicz’s previous podcast appearances with us, about lessons from his book Fix This Next and Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself.

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