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The Golden Circle of Nurturing a Culture That Attracts Talent

Adi Assaf

We all know companies with great culture, we’ve seen them in action, it blows our minds, and we associate their successful culture with the head figure’s superhuman character, or charisma, because how else are they able to do that?

And what’s more frustrating, is that these companies attract the most amazing talent around, because who wouldn’t want to work in a company that has raving employees are chanting its name all over social media?

Every founder, CEO or head figure I ever talked with wants to build this kind of culture, they all know how instrumental a great culture is, in everything their company does, but surprisingly, not everyone wants to commit to it.


Companies are formed in the image of their leaders, culture, according to Molly Graham, former Culture and Employment Branding at Facebook, is 80% of the leader’s vision. That’s why it’s up to you to make it happen.


Great culture is a commitment, you can’t wing it, it takes time, effort and planning and for those who are taking their first steps on this long road, the task might seem daunting.


But it’s worth it, and the examples are all around us. You can’t build an amazing company, with amazing products, that were created by top talent without it.


But where do you start?


Rome was not built in a day. You need to start working on your company’s culture as soon as you start to work on its products or services and as with all process, it’s better to have a methodology in place.


This methodology must be applied on a regular basis and practiced throughout the company’s activities until it becomes a routine on every level, you can’t wing an amazing culture via the head figure’s cult of personality or good intentions alone.


Focus on your cultural growth engines, your existing employees or recruits, and give them the framework and motivational boosts that will push them to not only embrace your culture but to contribute to it as well.


Enter the golden circle


Simon Sinek, a famous human motivation and leadership researcher, suggested that organizations and leaders who use a naturally occurring pattern he calls the golden circle, can build amazing things because they inspire, and motivate, from an intrinsic core, they don’t just pay someone to do their job.


It makes common sense, but if you check, you’ll find that this way of thinking is not aligned with the way most organizations or even people go about their daily business.


The Golden circle consists of three layers, as can be seen in this diagram:



Through this diagram, Simon demonstrates that leaders who start from:


  • Understanding why they’re doing what they’re doing.

  • And know why people should care.

  • Or why does it make a difference…


And do so before anything else, are the ones who can do amazing things in the long run.


Knowing why you do something as a leader, helps you first to shape your product or service along the lines of the mental image you want to project, and brings into focus the culture you want to have in your company.


Why does it work?


Because people act on strong emotions, and these emotions are the only way to create a sense of purpose. Sinek puts it this way:


“They don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”


Some very known examples include:


  • Apple: Sinek uses Apple as his main example because they literally explain the why: ‘’In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently… The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. And we happen to make great computers” That’s it, plain and simple, but there are other examples of course, for instance:

  • Slack: “Imagine what we’ll do together.” Their purpose is to connect teams and help them communicate better to boost productivity, they know it, we know it, everyone now knows it.

  • Nike: used to focus on the legendary “just do it,” nothing is holding you back from exercising your right to be healthy but had moved since into different whys according to different verticals.


Sure, one can say that these are just great marketing slogans, but even the best slogan ever invented, won’t help a company that doesn’t practice what it preaches.


After you establish the why, you’ll have to figure out the “How” and the “What.”


How to develop a company culture that will attract talent


When you define why your company exists, you lay the foundation to everything it does, including how your culture is going to look, and if you’re going to attract talent in the long run.


In the golden circle diagram, the “how” represents the roadmap and goals you wish to achieve, the qualities your organization needs to possess, and the resources at your disposal.


And all the above is achieved via people.


Your goal should be to create a culture for people, who possess certain qualities. Hiring candidate in this way will make sure that they’ll become an invaluable resource in the long run, and it will pay off because your potential talent is extremely interested in culture, and if your the company is not their cultural cup of tea, they won’t bother with you.


That’s why, from your first hire, you need to select the kind of people who will create the base for the culture you want to lead in the future. Ask yourself before you hire someone these questions, and if the answer is a resounding yes, hire them!


  1. Do they care? – This one trait, caring, should be the first trait you need to look for in your recruits. To build a culture, you need to have people who care about what they’re doing, the company they’re in, and the people around them. Great families care about each other, great sports teams care about each other and winning, and great leaders care about their employees.


Companies with amazing culture have people there that care about the culture, and when people care, they can create amazing companies who produce amazing products.


  1. What type of mindset do they have? – Candidates are divided into two groups when it comes to their mindsets, those with fixed mindsets, and those with growth mindsets.  Those with fixed mindsets don’t believe in development, you are what you are, you do what you need to do, and that’s it.


Talents usually possess a growth mindset and are attracted to it, believing that everything is possible and that there’s no limit to what they can do. A growth mindset is not limited only to talent, your entire company needs to have it, and most of all, as a hiring manager, you need to have it.

  1. Are they willing to engage? – How engaged you want your employees to be in your company’s affairs? Engagement is a tricky thing, you want employees that are dedicated and productive, but you don’t want to overstress them, that’s why defining engagement is important as well.


A culture of engagement is created when passionate individuals voluntarily interact with company activities, and with each other, in a constructive way that benefits the company, other employees and themselves.


  1. How strong is their character? – A strong character allows your employee to believe in the road map and endure the tough times without bailing ship. You want to hire people who are willing to focus on execution, and that can disregard the distractions that come hand in hand with either success or failure.


  1. Are they Professionals in more ways than one? – professionalism is a state of mind, it influences everything your employee does, and it brings focus to their lives and their work.


It makes sure that their ethics are up to par with your vision and that they will take the lead when required on all aspects concerning their role in the company, both in terms of their profession and culture wise.


If you’re able to make sure that every employee in company possesses the above traits, and manifests the advantages that are associated with these traits, you’ll know that you have the resources to create the company you always dreamed of.