How to Attract & Retain the Right People
If you’re one of the many executives struggling with finding and keeping the right people to propel your business forward, you’ll find these insights helpful.
If you’re frustrated by trying to motivate people, work instead to develop a
company where people are self-motivated – where they do things because they want
to. When we’re inspired, we enjoy our work, we’re productive, and we’re proud of
our efforts. We remain focused and committed to the task at hand. In short, we
put forth out best effort.
An organization will attract and retain a team of people dedicated to the
success of the organization and its goals when it has a Purpose, a Mission, and
a set of Values that it lives by, effectively communicates them throughout the
organization, and measures its actions and decisions against them. Let’s define
what Purpose, Mission and Values are and talk about the implications of having
them clearly defined and embodied in the organization.
Purpose is the "WHY" of the equation. Purpose defines why we do what we do. It
defines why we go to work each day. Without purpose, people just go through the
motions and as most of us know, there’s a great difference between activity and
achievement. Having a purpose creates a yardstick, so to speak, to measure our
decisions against. It helps us become passionate, helps us to select among the
many options presented to us, helps us make better hiring decisions, and keeps
us on track. It’s possible to succeed without a clear purpose, but having one
speeds and magnifies the results.
When a company has a clearly defined purpose it begins to act as a magnet,
attracting the kind of people who will further the purpose; people who are
like-minded. Not only will having a purpose retain the right people, but it will
also act to attract them. This is the power behind the success of many
not-for-profit organizations. Although they often are unable to pay their staff
great sums of money, they continue to attract and retain people who are
dedicated and who work hard to achieve the purpose of the organization. While
your organization’s purpose may not be as altruistic as a not-for-profit’s
purpose, it definitely plays an important, almost critical, role.
How you develop a meaningful purpose? Involve people throughout the organization
in order to develop and distill the essence of why your organization exists.
Don’t simply rely on the executive team to develop and then dictate the purpose
to the group. And certainly don’t rely on an outside company to create your
purpose for you! It has been my experience that a well-defined statement of
purpose is a single sentence, crafted to capture the essence of “why” the
organization exists using as few words as possible and resonating when read or
spoken. This brings clarity and energy to it, and makes it much easier to keep
in mind when making decisions and policies.
Mission is the "WHAT" of the equation. Mission defines what the company does to
achieve its Purpose. The better defined a company’s mission is, the easier it is
to choose among the many opportunities that will present themselves. A mission –
the means to achieve the Purpose - can be fairly narrow or be somewhat broad.
However, one that is too narrow can unduly restrict an organization from
considering opportunities that would otherwise be an excellent fit, and one that
is too broad offers no guidance at all and may cause an organization to spread
itself too thin, do a poor job at everything, and essentially dilute its
How do you determine an appropriate mission? Again, remember to involve people
throughout the organization to develop and distill the essence of what your
organization is about. Don’t simply rely on the executive level to develop and
then dictate the mission to the group. Work to strike that balance between
clarity and confinement – not too broad, yet not overly restrictive.
Values are the "HOW" of the equation. Values define how the Mission will be
carried out in an effort to achieve the Purpose. They define the “rules of the
game”. Some of these values will come to mind quite easily, things like honesty,
courtesy, kindness, and ethics. But some other important values will only
surface when brainstorming takes place - when different perspectives and voices
are heard. Values like authenticity and vulnerability may be placed on the table
for consideration. (Which, by the way, are two essential qualities of an
exceptional leader.) It doesn’t matter which values are decided upon as being
important to the company. What is important however, is that whatever they are,
everyone in the company lives by and supports them. It’s important that the
policies and decisions of the company are in alignment with them. If the company
has an acknowledged list of values it purports to live by and then chooses to
ignore them, the list becomes a sore point and acts as a negative reflection of
what kind of organization you really lead.
When a company has clearly defined its Purpose, Mission, and Values, then all
decisions, policies, and actions will have a measuring stick to keep them on
course and you will have an organization which attracts and keeps the best!
You’ll create an organizational culture which naturally acts as a magnet to
attract and retain like-minded people. And you’ll also have the framework to
interview about the things that matter most to you and your organization. No
longer will people be hired based solely on technical abilities or simply to
Exceptional leadership inspires the best effort in others!