Get Our Email Newsletter

Finding qualified managers may be your next big challenge

Bill Lee sales & operations


The classic professional manager is less and less willing to relocate when an owner or an industry recruiter comes calling. There are all kinds of reasons this phenomenon is occurring: One of them seems to be exacerbated by the rapid spread of COVID-19. As the virus spread and continues to progress, it has motivated many management candidates to resist leaving family and friends to advance their careers. Others still are finding industries in which to advance their careers without moving at all.

LBM Resources

White Paper: How to Stage Your Company for Sale

WHITE PAPER: How to Stage Your Company for Sale Staging your company for sale and obtaining maximum value takes time and discipline because the process...

Anytime there is a shortage of just about anything, you can bet the cost will escalate, and this is certainly true of management candidates. Like a lot of things that become scarce, it’s smart to put a plan into place to develop your own; and that time may have arrived.

By making a list of your current management team members that includes each manager’s age, it will become clear which management positions are your top priorities to be prepared to replace once others retire. Your goal, that is if you have given yourself enough time, is to identify your top priorities and the characteristics a management candidate must possess to meet the standards you have established for the job. The last thing you want to do is to put yourself in a position of having to make a snap decision. I believe the process begins by putting together a Position Specification. In my management book, 30 Ways Managers Shoot Themselves in the Foot, in Appendix I on page 166, you’ll find an example of a Position Spec for a General Management position. The Position Spec is approximately three pages long and explains why the position is open, who the position will report to, the salary range and the accountability of the job; that is, how the successful candidate will be measured.

Regardless of the exact title of the position you are hiring for, this sample Position Spec will show you how to prepare a clear description of the talent the successful candidate must possess to qualify for the job by the specified date. By modifying the talent and experience required, you can use this outline to describe candidates for future sales managers, operations managers, general managers, etc.

- Advertisement -

The Position Spec allows top management the opportunity to specify what the company is looking for the successful candidate to accomplish in measurable terms. It can also double as a marketing tool. You might send the Position Spec to industry friends you believe could be able to recommend a candidate who meets the specifications you have outlined.

TEC is the acronym that I use to specify what I am looking for in a candidate: T stands for Talent, E for Experience, and C for Chemistry.

For my money, talent is my number one priority. I am looking for raw talent! Football coaches sometimes call it athleticism.

- Advertisement -

My number two in importance is chemistry. Does the candidate fit into our company culture? Are the candidate’s values close enough to our company’s values that our organization won’t reject the person?

And for me, last in importance is experience. I list experience last because experience is the only one of these three that can be learned. Talent and chemistry are inborn. I’m looking for all three, but if I must compromise, experience is the only ingredient I am willing to bend on.

The best way to avoid putting yourself in reaction mode is to engage in this kind of long- range planning; that is, identifying your management needs well in advance of time running out.

Bill Lee is a respected sales and business consultant in the LBM industry. For more information, contact Bill at

Get our free newsletter

Join thousands of other lumber and building material industry leaders and keep up with the companies, people, products and issues shaping the industry.

What's New

Digital Partners

Become a digital partner ...

Sales Comp Study

Download this 55-page, in-depth study by LBM Journal of industry trends in sales force compensation and benefits. See how your organization stacks up.


- Advertisement -

White Papers

View all ...

- Advertisement -

Partner Content

View all ...

- Advertisement -

Registration is now open for the LBM Strategies 2024 Conference