How to FIX the Talent Shortage


There is NO Shortage

I started a new role in Knowledge Management and within the first 24 hours, my new boss told me that I had to replace everyone on my staff.

When I asked why,  he explained that

  1. They didn’t know Knowledge Management.
  2. They have been moved around a lot.
  3. They have a lot of experience (Understand?)

You know those moments in your life where you aren’t in danger but you still go into fight or flight mode?   I was in shock that someone would say anything like this to me no less on the first day of my new job.

So, you want me to …… let them all go?  

The answer from me was “NO” and the answer from me today is still “NO.”   This is part of the problem in large companies.  There is a lot of bullshit nonsense transformation and not enough thinking.    I refused to let anyone go and I went on to learn about this team .. my team.   They were experienced professionals that understood learning, training, performance and knowledge.  They were experts in Knowledge Management and corporate leaders including HR didn’t know it.    No one took the time to ask them and no one seemed to care.   It gets better though, not only could they do the things I envisioned for our company, they could do things that I had no idea about.   They had knowledge,  experience and ideas that far exceeded my own.   This team humbled me.

Unfortunately,  my experience is uncommon.  Most people in my position would have walked in and let them all go.   That is the truth.

The Message

Companies generally speaking don’t know who works for them.   Unless you are famous but even then, you could be forgotten and buried.   Think for a moment about your own company.   What do you know about people outside of your immediate circles? What do you know about the people you work with everyday?   Hobbies matter…  one person on my team today is an expert photographer and drone enthusiast,  one is an expert technologist including bleeding edge technologies,  some are experts in design, animals, plants, health..  it goes on.  That has nothing directly to do with their immediate job but since I know about what they can do, if I ask them to help with something or if they had an interest somewhere else in the company,  they COULD do it.

There is no labor shortage.    Companies are more willing to pay 3x for a person they believe is an expert vs pay less than 1.5x to upskill or cross train employees they already have on staff.

All of the new RPA skills are so new right?  How about … NO.     RPA the buzz is about software that does BPM in a much more sophisticated way.   Let’s call them technological cousins but the ideas and actual process may be exactly the same with the same desired outcome.   


If you want change..   If you are a leader that wants change ..    YOU have to change and YOU have to be part of change.   YOU have to stop the nonsense.

Where is the Staff?

There is a good chance.. that you have them already.   For the record though, let us say you don’t have them.

  1. University students – Can’t find work?  Link
  2. Veterans – Can’t find work? Link
  3. Minorities – Can’t find work? Link  (This link applies to woman as well).
  4. Women – Can’t find work?


Ask me about all of the talented people that I know looking for work.   The problem is with companies ignoring talent management.    The problem is that companies are reactionary.  “Oh shit, we need an AI expert.”    They don’t even know what that means.    One of my favorites was when I heard a leader say “We need an expert in development for the cloud.”   I asked what was the difference between developing in the cloud or on-premise,  and they were like “it’s too complicated to explain but there are many differences and that’s what we need, so find a cloud developer.”

The reason you can’t find what you are looking for is because you aren’t looking. 

If you want to fix the talent shortage in your company,  start by finding out who your employees are. 


Leave your brain at the door please…




One Reply to “How to FIX the Talent Shortage”

  1. Great comments Howie. As you know from military experience the first rule of leadership is to know your troops. The second is to know your mission and the third is to match your talent with the mission. This has always served me well but as you mentioned the new and improved buzz of businesses seem to have lost this foundational truth.


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