By Stacy Eads
August 4, 2020

The People Decisions

Learn how to scale up your company, starting with people.
Business people

As of today, there are more than 70,000 companies utilizing Scaling Up. Their C-Suite level executives are determined to scale up their companies 10 times larger than they are today utilizing the four decisions every company has to get right: 1- People, 2- Strategy, 3- Execution, and 4- Cash.

When was the last time you asked yourself to make a list of all the people who interact with your brand?

If you’d like an abbreviated version of the four Scaling Up chapters on People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash as a sneak peek, visit my website to request a free copy. No strings attached, just an eight-page PDF. Remember, this Edmond Business column is my community give-back to my hometown that has given me so much over my lifetime.

Let’s start to explore how a Scaling Up coach would help a local Edmond management team learn the “Four Decisions to Scaling Up” their company, starting with the People Decision.


We all know the best companies start with the best people. As Jim Collins in Good to Great stated, “first who, then what.” With the greatest “Who” on your team, you can always achieve any “What” you dream up. Many executives have heard of Collins’ phrase, “You’ve got to have the Right People on the bus, in the Right Seats, doing the Right Things, Right.

The two key questions covered within the People Decision are:

  1. Are all stakeholders happy and engaged?
  2. Knowing what you know today, would you rehire all of them?

“Stakeholders” is a key phrase in the initial question. Often a company will only look internally to its employee base for employee satisfaction survey scores once a year. Yet Scaling Up asks you to think bigger. Stakeholders are ALL of the People who interact with your business – customers, employees, prospects, vendors, your bankers, the community you work within, and more.

When was the last time you asked yourself to make a list of all the people who interact with your brand?

Another key phrase in the first question is “engaged.” Employee satisfaction and employee engagement are not the same. A “C-Player” (or bad apple) can walk in at 7:59 a.m. every morning, and clock out at 5:01 p.m. every evening feeling “satisfied or happy” that they did the bare minimum to skate by another day unscathed.

Engagement is different

Engagement is usually measured at least every six months and measures deeper topics like whether the employee feels involved in the company decisions; feels enthusiastic about your products or services; and whether they feel committed to how their individual work plays into the big picture for the company’s long-term goals.

Every year, an international study is done on employee engagement trends around the world. Most people are surprised to learn that the USA and Canada often tie for the most engaged workforce.

Even more surprising? The bar isn’t set very high. The U.S. average employee engagement rate is now just 34% actively engaged, while upwards of 2/3 of your company are disengaged from your brand, your vision, or your products and services. They feel disconnected from the minute their alarm goes off, and they have to drag themselves to the office to slog through another project.

When was the last time you asked your employees what would they like to see the company start doing, stop doing, or keep doing?

Did you know that 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least weekly? Goodbye annual reviews where an employee is left clueless on their performance level for 364 days a year, awaiting the one magical day an HR team chooses to give them written feedback. Hello weekly “coaching sessions” where managers acknowledge that everyone deserves to know whether they’ve had a good day or a good week with leading metrics that define their role.

Don’t be fooled

This isn’t “Fluffy Stuff” or HR “Touchy-Feely” work. A Wharton study found that “Best-in-Class engaged companies” produce 3.5 times the bottom-line profitability than organizations with average engagement levels.

The second key question I coach is, “Knowing what you know today, would you rehire all of them?” I’m sure they were the star prospect when they were hired, but now that you’ve changed, the products have shifted, and the marketplace has evolved – are they still the best choice for that particular seat on your company bus?

“A players”

A and B players on your team are those who adhere to your core values and actively engage in your core purpose. A “C player” does not consistently exhibit your core values on a daily basis, or they engage in unethical behavior “to get the sale” at all costs.

Did you know that 89% of employers think their “A players” leave for more money? We tell ourselves that story because it’s easier to swallow, when in reality – only 12% leave for a higher income. The vast majority of “A players” state the number one reason for leaving a company is management’s tolerance of “C players.”

As a leader, every day an “A player” walks through your doors, you load three bricks into their bag they lug over their shoulder. An “A player” outperforms a “B player” by a factor of three, dragging those bricks around like a Santa Clause bag filled with coal. Those “B players” are good teammates who believe in the company’s core purpose and they exhibit the core values. They simply need a little week-to-week coaching to improve their skill set, productivity, or performance so they can cross the thin line between B to A. If you’re waiting on a quarterly review to tell them how they can improve, you’re cheating your “B Player” out of 13 weeks they could have been coached onto the “A” squad, faster.

Every day a leader tolerates “C players” on their team, they load nine bricks into an A player’s bag. Those “A players” carry the burden of picking up the slack. They are in fact nine times more effective than a “C player.” The faster you can cut them loose, the lighter the load for the top two players to succeed and achieve.

Your recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding practices are imperative to achieving a team full of “A players.” Businesses normally hire for skill sets on a resume, but fire for character-based traits they see play out in the workplace.

Some studies have shown those mis-hires cost upwards of three times that one person’s salary. Think about it. It makes perfect sense. You paid for recruiting ads; you paid staffers their time to recruit and hire this person; you had at least three managers in every one-hour interview setting; and during onboarding, your HR staff spent weeks training them to integrate with a team lead, and onboarding them into your IT and benefits.

All that precious money down the drain. And now? You have to spend all that time and money again to re-hire the same role. Getting it right the first time can save countless dollars in pure profit.

Universal people principles

I’ve been blessed to coach the People Decision to companies in Canada, Colorado, Missouri, Kansas, and my home state of Oklahoma. The principles are universal to a variety of industries, including Edmond Churches, Software as a Service (SaaS), Global Manufacturing, Marketing Agencies, Law Firms, B2B Service Providers, Automotive Dealerships, and Energy sectors.

These principles work anywhere in the world. Just last month, I was coaching EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) and YPO (Young President’s Organization) community members from Sri Lanka, Kenya, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Manhattan, Kansas, and Orange County to celebrate their Quarter 2 wins, brainstorm their pandemic pivots, and set their sights firm on their next Quarter 3 goals.

I often facilitate long-range strategic planning retreats each year throughout North America teaching executive leadership teams all Four Scaling Up decisions in both the United States and Canada. The People Decision is always a head-turner. Executives take out the cell phones and start snapping away at all the slides.

Originally, I deployed best-selling author Verne Harnish’s Scaling Up book and toolsets when I ran a metro-area software firm over the last decade, including the Scaling Up One Page Strategic Plan, and 10 Rockefeller Habits checklist. I don’t just teach the People Decision – I’ve lived it, day in and day out while I was a CEO in Norman.

I became a Certified International Coach because I loved the idea of sharing the tools with other CEOs as I do in this monthly Edmond Business column. In the coming months, we’ll explore each of the other three Scaling Up decisions.

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About Stacy Eads

Edmond native & UCO Alumna, Stacy Eads, is an award-winning “Most Admired CEO” who scaled her company as a Woman in Tech before becoming an International Scaling Up Business Coach. She now empowers other CEOs from $2M to $200M to embrace their leadership potential through quarterly strategic planning. Her talent is in high demand to CEO Coach, Train Teams, and Speak at Events in both the U.S.A. and Canada.

Stacy Eads’ career affiliations include 50 Women Making a Difference award, Circle of Excellence award, Torch Ethics award, Most Admired CEO award, Edmond Chamber & UCO Mentor, Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma Board of Directors, TEDx OKC Speaker Coach, and Ambassador Chairwoman for the Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce.