Magnetic businesses attract the best customers and most effective talent

In strategy sessions, recruiting top talent is one of the most mentioned obstacles to achieving the corporate goal. Sieving for the best customers and searching for the most supportive suppliers follow closely behind. Getting more advantageous terms for funding from the investment community is also a popular bullet point. 

 For middle performing companies, these are the clouds that lour a longer term perspective.

 However, the sky is bluer in businesses that are exciting and growing and for good reason. Organisations that make a difference in the lives of their customers, employees and suppliers have an energy that draws people to them.  Talent, customers, and suppliers come to them—not the other way around.

 Exciting and growing businesses are magnetic. Highly magnetic organisations attract the best customers and the best talent.  

 If you’re not convinced, undertake this 10 minute exercise at your next team meeting. Tell your senior leaders that they have a (fictitious) opportunity for a 12 month secondment in a company of their choice, and record their nominations. Most times the names of desirable brands (Apple, Harley Davidson) emerge, but smaller businesses with outstanding offers and passion for their work are also listed.

 Second, repeat the question but now ask for names of organisations where they would least like to spend time. This list is often longer than the first and is typically populated by utility companies, most airlines (there are exceptions) and some financial institutions. 

 Customers are attracted to magnetic organisations in which they are captivated, not captured. Look at the output from the exercise above for examples of each.  The former list captivates, the latter captures, and shackles build resentment.

 Why is talent drawn to a magnetic organisation? 

 Talent is constantly depreciating.  If not developed it withers. The resultant impact is reflected in the spirit and demeanour of its owner and unhappy employees do not lead to happy customers. If you need evidence, visit companies who put shareholders before customers, or ones who believe they can cut themselves to growth.

 Conversely, talent in magnetic organisations develops naturally and positively as a result of delivering business activities.  People are energised when the positive difference they make to others also makes a difference to themselves.  Working for mutual benefit need not be about money.  Suppliers are interested in showcasing their capabilities, investors are enthusiastic about the potential and will price accordingly.

 So, the next time you try to address your ‘talent’ or customer problem, don’t treat the symptoms. Address the systemic cause. Drive for a growing, exciting organisation that is better and different than the competiton.

 Build a magnetic business.