If you’ve been around long enough, you recognize that there haven’t been enough experienced managers in retail, catalog and now ecommerce operations for decades. With the explosion in online business over the past 15 years, management turnover and the lack of highly qualified operations managers is apparent and may be holding your company back.

In the past couple of months I’ve done presentations at four conferences. When I ask, “Do you need better managers?” or “How are you growing future managers?” heads nod but no answers are volunteered. I find this distressing because I think our industry should be moving faster to increase productivity, experiment with new technologies and strategically deal with Amazon’s growing pervasiveness.

We have seen clients spend months recruiting and bringing on new operations managers in contact center, fulfillment, purchasing and ecommerce, only to have them not live up to their resumes, leading to terminations and new rounds of recruitment.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers but here are some thoughts on gaining better leaders and managers for your business:

Tap New Sources for Leadership

I’m not exactly a fan of Amazon with its predatory approach to business. But like many of its innovations Amazon’s policy of hiring veterans is a very good one that might work for your company. A recent story in the Seattle Times focused on Amazon’s effort to hire vets. A year ago the company committed to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses over a five-year period through its Military Leaders Program. Amazon says it has already hired thousands but would not give more details.

The article detailed Amazon’s success with veterans – who work at 240 of its U.S. facilities – and its efforts to tap their leadership skills for its growing logistics operations. New hires are brought in as area managers to…