by Matt Thomas

Recently, I spent some time with two groups of business owners down in Dallas leading workshops on organizational culture and exit strategies. It was a blast. During a break, one of these executives pulled me aside after learning that a major focus of our business is talent acquisition. He lamented his company’s inability to attract top talent even though they have, in his view, an incredibly strong culture. In the other workshop, another executive complained that her company had no difficulty getting talented people in the door, but their retention rates were horrendous. I asked the first leader how well they pay their people. His response was familiar, “We pay okay, but we’re really after people who buy into our mission.” In my experience “okay” is usually code for below market. I asked the second executive the same question. She responded enthusiastically, “Our comp is at or near the top of our industry!” Wonderful. Follow up question: “Why do your people love working at your company?” Crickets. Here are three principles leaders need to accept about organizational culture: