Mining For Diamonds Is Comparable To Finding Good Managers

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Did you know the only public diamond mine in the world is in Murfreeboro, Arkansas? The Crater of Diamonds State Park offers a one-of-a-kind adventure — the opportunity to hunt for real diamonds and to keep any you find. The park gives you a brief training, provides you with equipment and lets you loose to hunt for diamonds.

What the experience teaches you is finding diamonds requires effort, training and a little luck. This is exactly what it is like to mine for managers in your restaurant.

Making a point

Finding your next manager-in-training (MIT) or assistant manager (AM) is like searching for diamonds.

1) It requires a diamond mine.

In this analogy, your restaurant is your diamond mine. If you have done a great job in selecting line employees and an even better job training them, you’ll have a few diamonds ready to shine.

2) It requires cultivating the soil.

One of the ways the Crater of Diamonds State Park helps its visitors find diamonds on their visit is to bulldoze the earth routinely to bring the stones to the top of the soil. In your restaurant, bringing the diamonds to the surface where they can be easily recognized requires that the current management team creates a positive work environment for employees to flourish and grow. It requires that management is constantly training employees to do more.

3) It requires you to always be looking.

Some of the diamonds found at the park are found right on the pathway to where people hunt for diamonds. That means that hundreds, if not thousands, of people walk over a diamond every day because they don’t think to start looking until they get to the mine itself.

What does this mean for you? With a little luck and your eyes open every step, you can find the proverbial diamond in the rough. You need to always be looking for your next MIT or AM, even if your management team is complete. You never know when one of them will move on or when you can open a new location and need to double your management team overnight.

manager meetings

Mining the wrong way

A mistake I routinely see when owners and general managers hire from within is to not offer any management training. This happened a lot. I know from my own experience as the manager for a brew pub, as soon as our insider accepted the new position, we handed them the keys, asked them to follow another manager for a few shifts and then let them go to survive or die on their own. There was no formal training whatsoever, and since there wasn’t any formal training when they first joined the restaurant, there was no hope.

We would do this again and again, and we would continue to lose great MITs and AMs. Albert Einstein once said (and I’m paraphrasing here), that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly yet expecting a different result. By this definition, we were nuts.

It’s no wonder we lost these great managers. We weren’t offering any guidance, direction or goals. We weren’t offering any training. And a major reason people leave their jobs is because they don’t know what’s expected of them. Without a structured training system, these expectations are overlooked and valuable diamonds are lost.

We spend a lot of time and money training our line employees to give our guests the best experience possible, yet we throw new managers into the fire with almost no support and training and expect them to succeed.

To change that cycle (and to allow your diamonds to shine), create a training program specific to management. It should include all your operational systems in an operations manual and then a training program that walks each manager through a step-by-step process to learn the skills necessary to be successful. You have to test them on what they learn so that you know they are proficient at each skill set and system necessary to do their job correctly. Your restaurant’s success is dependent upon it.

Adding this step to your process, especially when developing someone from within, will virtually guarantee you a strong management team from top to bottom. Build a successful management team from within with great training from start to management.

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