A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you


I had the pleasure of attending the SHRM Annual Conference this week in the beautiful city of Chicago.  Having only travelled through the city via airport, I thought it would be fun to arrive a couple days early and play tourist.

I walked all over the first day, and ate more than I care to admit.  My memorable meal of the many was a darn good gyros from a little hole in the wall somewhere in the city.  I wasn’t particularly hungry when I passed this little joint but the view from the street was of their lamb being served as it should be…from a vertical spit.  As I love good gyros, I poked in and was immediately sure I would be eating there.  The smells, the fact the staff were speaking Greek to each other, and the intoxicating sight of that lamb waiting to be sawed off and put into a perfecy grilled flatbread had me ordering within seconds.

I was not disappointed; it was fantastic.

The conference began, I attended some great sessions, met and visited with some incredibly charming folks, and ate some more.  It ended this morning and once again, I found myself walking the streets of this charming city.

I was hungry and, while I hate eating in the same place twice when there are thousands of new joints to discover, I found myself wanting another gyros from that particular place. But I had no idea what the name of the place was and, because I had walked all over this city, I had no idea where it was located.

Lest you think I have forgotten why I started this story…what happened next strikes me as a demonstration of a great competency – one that I believe is a critical one to our employees’ success.


I wanted the gyros.  I am stubborn and didn’t want to settle for anything else. I had the time and I had the gumption – I was going to find the joint but in order to do so, I needed to be resourceful.

  • I asked around and described it to the locals.
  • I googled.
  • I Yelped.
  • I looked for my receipt just in case there was a number or address.
  • I started calling the joints I found on the Internet.
  • I looked back through the pictures I had taken on my phone and identified landmarks from the pictures of pigeons and squirrels who ate my fries that afternoon.
My resourcefulness, supplemented with determination and a hankering for an adventure resulted in a fabulous meal!


Jennifer McClure, in her presentation “Talent Shortages & Skills Gap” spoke about the “perfect storm” our country is experiencing and will continue to face in the upcoming decade.  She offered her insights about how organizations might effectively recruit and retain skilled and competent employees.  She suggested that behavioral competencies remain to be critical components of a successful match.


I suggest to you that resourcefulness is one of those key competencies.


I suggest to you that resourcefulness can turn a mediocre employee into a rock star.


I suggest to you that without resourcefulness, even the brightest employee will disappoint you.



I challenge you to think about that the next time you interview candidates.

Give them my scenario and ask them what they would do.  (Change it to be about a cell phone or a lost piece of jewelry or something…not everyone loves lamb on a spit as much as me.)


Depending on their story, I believe you’ll learn quite a bit about their resourcefulness.  


 That knowledge is nearly as valuable as a good gyros!



EmploymentHuman ResourcesRecruitmentSelection ProcessWorkforce

Heather Kinzie • June 20, 2013

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