By Patrick Boyle | Principal, Supply Chain Operations Competency | Chainalytics
Supply chain executives’ jobs can be daunting. This is especially true if they manage dynamic, complex, integrated supply chains that require a holistic view–from the supplier’s supplier to the customer’s customer–and span activities across planning, sourcing, manufacturing, delivery and packaging.
These leaders are often challenged with never-ending daily internal and external issues that emerge from all directions – working with suppliers to reduce total delivered costs, continuously rationalizing manufacturing footprints and optimizing warehousing and/or distribution networks. Furthermore they must navigate internal organizational dynamics, maintain alliances with business unit and other executive leaders and be constantly on the lookout for topnotch talent.
The Value a Supply Chain Success Coach Brings
As author Russ Alan Price noted in Forbes, success coaching is a proven technique used in business and other vocations that “significantly enhances the economic achievements of individuals.” But while supply chain leaders are are often expected to deliver outstanding results (and do it on our own), in professional sports we expect teams and key players to have dedicated coaches who are constantly helping those players raise the bar on their performance.
If demands are outstripping your supply chain leader’s bandwidth and capabilities, you may want to take a look at how CEOs have employed trusted executive coaches or private advisors to assist supply chain leaders in navigating challenges across investors, employees, customers and board directors. It’s an investment that pays off: Price notes that through coaching, supply chain executives are able to improve organizational impact on the company and supply chain partners, so everyone wins. He describes coaching as a process that helps improve performance.
What to Look for in Your Supply Chain Success Coach
Ready to choose your supply chain success coach? It can be a strategic move: He or she will bring a diverse set of supply chain experiences, skills and expertise to help your supply chain leader define and achieve financial goals faster and with greater ease. Keep the following attributes in mind when you’re looking for your coach:
- Seasoned. First and foremost, your new coach will need to be a seasoned supply chain consultant who has personally navigated supply chain and organizational challenges at the executive level. The coach will be able to help the leader identify barriers to breakthrough success, assess current supply chain practices against best practices and make suggestions for improvements, provide personalized support to assist with building internal alliances, assist in the design and facilitation of success workshops, and drive accountability.
- Passionate. Your coach must be passionate about your success both personally and professionally. A championship coach has experience in identifying barriers to success and in assisting the development of action plans for overcoming those challenges. Your coach brings outside experiences and contacts with a singular focus to help you and your team succeed and achieve breakthrough supply chain performance. The coach should be willing to “get their head in the game” by keeping up with the particular challenges of your business or industry. Offering advice without active participation is about as good as reading a book.
Ultimately, expert coaching ensures your firm develops a more-competent, more-knowledgeable leader able who is able to assure not only financial and operational benefits, but bring better insights and flexibility to your organization. And isn’t that what it’s all about?
Patrick Boyle–a principal in Chainalytics’ Supply Chain Operations competency–has over 25 years of experience working with manufacturing companies and multiple industries across all of the disciplines of supply chain management, business process redesign and project management. He specializes in ensuring business transformation and team and organizational innovation and alignment. His collaborative leadership style and active continuing education in areas including APICS training, Supply Chain Council’s SCOR Model, PMI PMBOK in Project Management and Prosci Change Management enable him to inspire cross-functional teams to new levels of performance and capability.
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