Are You a Supply Chain Leader Who Embraces Change?

September 25, 2018

This guest post comes from Fronetics, a boutique marketing firm focused on the Supply Chain and Logistics industries. Written by Elizabeth Hines.

In today’s rapidly evolving economy, embracing change is crucial for success. These 5 behaviors define supply chain leaders who are change-agile.

They say the only constant in life is change. When it comes to leadership in the supply chain, the old adage certainly rings true.

If the last few decades have been consistent in any regard, it has been in the need to embrace change to keep things running. Agile leadership has been crucial for supply chain and logistics businesses. Are you the kind of leader that truly embraces change?

Why do I need to embrace change?

NextBridge Consulting managing partner Edith Onderick-Harvey identifies 5 behaviors that are common among agile leaders. Onderick-Harvey points to an inability to embrace change as a key cause of failure in business — making the idea of “change-agile” leadership a crucial part of a business and a leader’s DNA.

Change isn’t easy in any area of life, and corporate leadership is no exception. However, being a successful leader depends on embracing change by “seizing opportunities, including throwing out old models and developing new ways of doing business,” writes Onderick-Harvey. She stresses the importance of inculcating a culture of “change thinking… from the most fundamental daily interactions to the most complex strategy.”

What defines a change-agile leader?

Onderick-Harvey identifies these five behaviors that are characteristic of change-agile leaders:

1. They share a compelling, clear purpose.

Embracing change just for the sake of isn’t enough. “If you can’t articulate a clear purpose behind the changes being made,” says Onderick-Harvey, “it’s unlikely that your employees will be able to implement them.”

2. They look ahead and see opportunity.

It’s not just senior executives who should be looking toward future opportunities. A culture of change-agility should pervade every level of the corporate structure. “Look beyond this month or this year to identify trends and take action.”

3. They seek out what’s not working.

Being a change-agile leader goes beyond simply being receptive to unsuccessful projects — it’s about encouraging communication and actively seeking out what isn’t working at any level of your business. “For real learning to occur,” writes Onderick-Harvey, “people need to feel psychologically safe to share the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

4. They promote calculated risk-taking and experimentation.

We all know that risk and experimentation are crucial for growth, but many of us are too reticent to boldly embrace these concepts. It’s not easy to remember that failure is an important step on the way to success. “Change agility requires leaders to ask ‘Why not?’ and to establish opportunities for pilots, prototypes, and experimentation.”

5. They look for boundary-spanning partnerships.

As the world grows ever more interconnected and work becomes more complex, success is increasingly dependent on seeking out collaboration across boundaries. “Change-agile leaders and organizations are replacing functional silos with formal and informal organizations that allow for the rapid flow of information and decision-making around a product, customer, or region.”

Welcoming and embracing change is good for every aspect of your business’ health. Do these behaviors sound like you? What can you do to promote change-agility in your business’ culture?

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