Like Attracts Like

by Sandy Nelson on March 18, 2011

Waiting at a traffic light on my way home from the gym the other day I noticed a couple standing side-by-side on the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and R Street, NW, here in DC—just in front of the recently and beautifully renovated Georgetown Public Library. In profile, they looked strikingly alike.

Musing, I thought of how often one sees couples who look alike and people with dogs that seem to be a perfect match. Funny how we are so often attracted to others with similar features and characteristics.

Isn’t the same true in organizations? Look around you. What similarities do you see in your colleagues?

Not, mind you, that they actually look alike or resemble you. It’s more about perspective and behavior. Businesses, over time, tend to attract people who mirror the standards, expectations and character of their cultures.

Very seldom do we find depth in top talent in organizations that tolerate noncompliance with standards and benignly accept lower levels of performance. Indeed, organizations that consistently perform well below potential are not only tolerant of suboptimal behaviors, but drift toward sameness.

On the other hand, in the dynamic, industry-defining organizations that we are often privileged to work with, top talent seems to ooze out of every corner. Figuratively speaking, lines of widely diverse, best in class individuals are eagerly waiting at their front doors. Those who set the standards for their industries seek out, enroll, welcome and leverage diverse people and perspectives.

Think about it.

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