It’s official: Take this job and shove it!

Auwe. That headline got my attention too.

I first saw it at Dane’s Business Opportunities Weblog, who steered me to the Savvy Manager:

“The worst-kept secret in town is that everybody is looking for a new job. And we mean everybody, especially those who are currently employed by some of the biggest players around.”

Until I read the rest of the article, I was sure they were talking about Hawaii. If you recall, in October’s Ho‘ohana, we just talked about the job-market reality that the people you want to hire are already employed by someone else.

I had lunch on Friday at a very popular Ala Moana restaurant, and the manager stopped by to chat with me briefly as I waited for a table. We’d previously worked together on a transition project and so as he apologized for keeping me waiting, he candidly got into the heart of his current challenge: “Business is booming, and we just can’t find enough good people to work for us.” I looked around, and the stress on the faces of his staff was painfully visible.

But not on Vincent, my waiter. He had just as many tables to take care of as everyone else, and he had to face the same kitchen staff overloaded with orders, yet I got terrific service from him, and so did everyone else in his station. Why? Because Vincent has worked there for a long time, and he has gotten exceptionally good at figuring out other ways to take care of his customers when the rest of the operation is not working that great.

How are these two stories connected? No matter what challenges you may face, your staff can probably surprise you with solutions they can suggest if you ask them. And you’ll rarely be blessed with someone like Vincent who will happily keep plugging away while the kingdom crumbles around him. Managers needn’t have all the answers; they just need to know where to turn to find them.

Look for your Vincent. Talk to him. Work hard to keep him.