Yeah, that’s a great question. I think there’s two things I’ll say. First one I’ll address is what do I look for in talent then the second one is what do I do to bring out the best in them. What I look for is people that are strategic in their thinking, they work on the business, not in the business. There’s some of the best supply chain folks I know, never really moved up. They failed as leaders when we tried to promote them because they didn’t have that integrated thinking, that strategic thinking. They need to work across various functions and understand that it’s really the entire P and L and balance sheet that we’re all working on together. So, having that strategic integrative thinking, it’s tough to assess, frankly, when you’re recruiting for that role as to how good they are in that area. So, I would just say strategic thinkers, and then leading through others.
I think you mentioned it just pure leadership skills, getting things done through others. A lot of integrated supply chain leaders just are doers. And they love to do, they’ll work 12 hours a day and they’ll have spreadsheets, but it’s important
as you move up in supply chain leadership to make sure you’re leading through others and hiring good, good people to work for you.
You have to force yourself to stay above the day-to-day and obviously hiring good talent, making sure you have the right organization structure in place globally, the right processes in place. It’s your job early on to put those processes and organization in place to make sure you can spend more time working on the business, not in the business. Having the right team underneath you and promoting the right people, carving out the time because your job is to improve that overall strategic process. At least that’s what I look for in a vice president or a COO is somebody that really can structurally improve the business processes and supply chain. And so just carving out time, forcing yourself to carve out time to do that is important.
I think it’s important to communicate constantly. I could never communicate enough as a CEO, as much as I thought I was communicating. All I ever heard was, we’re not communicating enough and it’s important for mid-level supply chain leaders, whether it’s a site leader of supply chain leader, a regional supply chain leader, it’s important for them to cascade my message or the senior managers let message down throughout the organization and it’s not easy.
I could tell future leaders based on who was doing a good job of cascading my message down throughout the organization. And I would do tests. I would test it at a certain plant level or region. Did they have a session with my slides or whatever? And how long did they take and did they make an effort to cascade that the company message, the strategy. And once again, those who really stood up and made the effort. It’s a leadership moment, frankly, for a lot of these mid and director level leaders as to how they actually communicate down through the organization. It’s a real test.
The second one is just recognizing how do you bring out the best? You’ve got to recognize people from the shop floor on up, and it has to be genuine and you have to be serious about it. And then providing career paths, making them visible. You’re making sure that you’ve got an unbiased process for evaluating and promoting talent. People see that. They watch the interview process. They see what gets posted, what doesn’t get posted. So just having a really visible career path and then making sure you have an objective process around promotions I think is key to bringing out the best in your leadership team and in your talent.