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Table Stakes to Attract Top Talent – Guest Post by Mark Miller

One of my favorite authors in the area of leadership is Mark Miller. His advice has been very helpful to me on my journey toward school administration mastery, so when I was given an opportunity to share a guest post by him, I was happy to help. His latest book, Talent Magnet is another one of Mark’s books that offers great advice for school administrators.

Table Stakes to Attract Top Talent – by Mark Miller

Over the last couple of years, my team and I have been working to answer the fundamental question: What attracts Top Talent? Our methodology included hundreds of interviews and thousands of on-line surveys. On many of the issues, we asked both Top Talent and typical talent the same questions. The differences between their responses informed our findings which I share in the book, Talent Magnet.
We were successful in learning about the differences between the two groups. However, an unexpected finding surfaced around some of the similarities. There are attributes these two groups share when looking for a place to work. I think this is noteworthy because many leaders want to win the war for talent – some even desire to become a true Talent Magnet, but what stands in their way are some of these Non-Negotiables.


As I discuss these ideas with leaders, our findings seem to strike a chord. Most realize, if you can’t provide these things, you can’t even get in the game.
So, what are Top and typical talent looking for if you want to be in their consideration set when they’re looking for work?


A competitive wage – Wages aren’t the panacea some leaders wish they were. However, paying below market wages is a strategy for mediocrity or worse.


A safe work environment – This may be the most obvious of the attributes listed here. However, safety and security matter to everyone on the job.


A positive culture – A toxic workplace breeds dissatisfaction. A thriving, encouraging culture will help you find and keep people… period.


A respected brand –  Great brands aren’t built quickly; it happens one transaction at a time. However, the value of a good name is hard to overstate. When someone hears the name of your organization, what is their response?


These non-negotiables won’t win the game for you, but their absence will ensure your defeat. Recruiting is never easy and retention is even harder. The competition is fierce, options for employment are plentiful, and people can often be lured away by the next “great” opportunity. As a leader, it is your role to put the Non-Negotiables in place; then and only then, can you begin in earnest to build your own Talent Magnet.


About Mark Miller


Mark Miller began his Chick-fil-A career working as an hourly team member in 1977. In 1978, he joined the corporate staff working in the warehouse and mailroom. Since that time, Mark has steadily increased his value at Chick-fil-A and has provided leadership for Corporate Communications, Field Operations, and Quality and Customer Satisfaction.

Today, he serves as the Vice President of High-Performance Leadership. During his time with Chick-fil-A, annual sales have grown to over $9 billion. The company now has more than 2,300 restaurants in 47 states and the District of Columbia.

When not working to sell more chicken, Mark is actively encouraging and equipping leaders around the world. He has taught at numerous international organizations over the years on topics including leadership, creativity, team building, and more.

Mark began writing about a decade ago. He teamed up with Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager, to write The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do (2007). More recently, he released Chess Not Checkers (2015), and Leaders Made Here (2017). His latest is Talent Magnet: How to Attract and Keep the Best People (February 2018). Today, over 1 million copies of Mark’s books are in print in more than two dozen languages


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