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Need an employee? Go to McDonald’s.

Own a company or run a business and having a hard time finding good employees in this tight job market?

Go to McDonald’s.

Some of the finest, most competent, most hard working people who I have ever known have worked for McDonald’s. A person who is able to competently manage a McDonald’s restaurant is a person who can do almost anything. I managed McDonald’s restaurants for about a decade in both Massachusetts and Connecticut, and no job was more challenging and more instructive than those years running restaurants.

The multitude of skills required to operate a profitable McDonald’s restaurant is astonishing, and the ability to work with a truly wide range of people – many of whom are not exactly enthusiastic to be working for you – is a skill few possess.

I learned more about teaching and managing a classroom from my time at McDonald’s than I ever learned in college. It’s not even close.

The education I received, both formal and informal, was invaluable. When I was promoted to manager at the age of 17, I was put through a management training program that consisted of curriculum and instruction designed by McDonald’s as well as college classes on management principles.

It was rigorous, extensive, and continued throughout my career.

As a result, I am better trained for managing large organizations than any school administrator with whom I have ever worked. School principals, for example, are simply teachers who have been elevated to a leadership position. While many do quite well in the position (and I have been blessed in my career to have some supremely effective leaders), they receive little – if any – formal management training, which is oftentimes abundantly evident.

Ask a school administrator about the scaler chain, unity of principle, process approach, The Peter Principle, The Law of Demeter, The Pareto Principle, The Pygmalion Effect, or the 5 (and sometimes 7 or even 10) principles of effective delegation, and it’s likely that they won’t be able to explain any of these things to you, yet they manage organizations and budgets oftentimes larger than an average McDonald’s restaurant.

They manage on instinct or observation of previous managers without any actual training, practice, or mentorship at all.

Education is not the only field where this upside down model operates. In many industries, highly effective employees are often elevated to management positions without receiving any management training at all. It’s simply assumed that because they can do one job, they can do another.

It makes no damn sense.

So if you’re feeling the squeeze of this tight labor market, go to McDonald’s, find the competent, effective managers who are running these operations, Most are underpaid, and many lack the vision and opportunity to leave the restaurant business for something that pays better, even though they very well could.

Many times, it need not even be managers. Highly effective crew people are just as skilled and valuable.

And don’t limit yourself to McDonald’s restaurants, I know a woman who runs the front counter at a local pizza place who I am certain could do almost any job in the world. She is respected by her fellow employees, works hard and efficiently, treats customers exceptionally well, understands the importance of clear communication, and possesses a relentlessly positive attitude.

If you need someone in your organization, you would be wise to offer her a job tomorrow.

Or sit with me in the lobby of a McDonald’s for 30 minutes and let me point out the employees to offer jobs to. When you know what you’re looking for, the good ones aren’t hard to spot.

The world is filled with highly effective people who can’t see a world beyond the limits of their current confines. Open a window for them. Show them the possibility of a different life. Greater opportunities. Perhaps a career better aligned to their hopes and dreams.

Don’t wait for potential employees to walk through your door. Find them in places few would think to look, including under the golden arches.