Related 1:WHO is one of your first HOW Questions
As for A-players vs B-players. I really look at it as the right person for the right job as opposed to hiring a great person who can do anything. I have sometimes had teams of over 100 people and at any time there were probably at least 30% who were in the wrong job for either them or the company. That is a lot when you think about it. Moving people around to make sure everyone is in the right place is almost impossible and very disruptive but that is what must be done. When I think of families it is the same. For example, asking a family member who has no interest in mechanical things to fix something mechanical is often not a successful proposition and asking a family member who is always rushing through things to do the dishes often leads to disappointment. Not to say they can’t or should not learn new skills but you need to make sure it is worth the investment and they have the aptitude for it.
In my personal experience, I find myself underperforming when I am not excited about my job. I was listening to the radio a few weeks ago about how the educated white-collar workers look down at blue-collar workers because of their mundane work and blue-collar workers look down on white-collar workers because they can not stick to a job that is not personally fulfilling. So part of an A-player has to do with skill and knowledge but it also has to do with personality, attitude and frame of mind. Does that make sense?