At this point, it is almost axiomatic that culture eats strategy for breakfast, a statement attributed to Peter Drucker. Culture is difficult to build, easy to destroy, and positive changes to culture take time to embed in the life of a company.

One of the ways a strong culture creates a competitive advantage is by allowing for the hiring and retention of the best talent. Hiring the best talent has always been top of mind for leaders, but the need is becoming more acute as we exit the pandemic. One company we work with has 15% of its total positions open. Another, a construction company, will hire as many qualified persons as they can find. Contracting work isn’t their issue. Having people to do the work is the issue. One client told us in their industry there are currently three open jobs for each qualified candidate. It’s a great time to be looking for a job. It’s a difficult time—and will only get more difficult—to be hiring. Now, more than ever, culture matters.

The most talented role players want to work in a strong, well-defined culture. They know what they value, and they desire to work in an environment that demonstrably shares those values, especially a commitment to excellence. Surround talented, hard-working people with mediocrity or an off-kilter culture and you are sure to become a revolving door of talent. Good talent will exit bad culture. No strategy will allow you to overcome mediocre talent in key positions, and the best way to attract and retain the best talent is to build a strong culture.