In my opinion, other than the capability of doing their job, the most important skills employees must have or acquire are Planning & Foresight. The most basic of the two is Planning and without it the employees are not functional. This is my 'non-P.C.' scale using Planning & Foresight as the metrics:
Dead weight: Can't plan, Can't foresee anything
Dependent: Plan at task level (actions), Rarely foresees
Autonomous: Plan at module level (tactics), Foresees with little inter-dependencies
Leader: Plan at macro level (strategy), Foresees with inter-dependencies
This is a linear way of comparing the two skills because planning skills depend on foresight. i.e. A good planner cannot be a great planner without foresight but somebody can have great foresight with little planning skills.
After you're done with your list: 1) I take it as a failure of management to either hire a person who is not qualified or failing at motivating that person through work. If you're stuck with a dead weight, let that person go. But wait, you are not done yet. Find out why 'you' (as a person or as a management team) failed so 'you' can prevent it in the future. 2) Create a good environment around the dependent people. Put positive pressure on them to see if they will grow into dead weight or autonomous people. 3) Keep your autonomous people challenged and encourage leadership in them. 4) Don't forget your leaders. Most of the time they're doing fine, but sometimes they
need to vent or to know they're doing a good job.
Note: I'm pretty sure there is a parallel between this way of sorting people and the 'Ability & Willingness' four-quadrant table I recently heard about. I'll post about that later.
1. Don Phillips, 2007, The four-quadrant leadership team