Future Leaders Take Note!

Here’s some food for thought for those you of reading this who are at the early or mid stage of your career and have aspirations to become a senior executive within the Supply Chain & Logistics sector in the future.

If all goes to plan then in few years time you will be leaders in the Global Supply Chain holding a position such as CEO, Director, VP and possibly with Global, Regional or Country wide responsibilities.

Whether that’s working in Aviation, Shipping, Contract Logistics, or indeed managing Supply Chain functions in Retail, Manufacturing or Distribution etc (the list goes on) there is going to be one common factor which will be a priority for you all… you are going to need people.

The current Supply Chain and Logistics industry leaders are already struggling to bring fresh talent into the sector and this is an issue around the world. The fact that its a global problem was further reinforced to me over the last two weeks as I attended two separate conferences in Asia and Europe. The week before last I was at the Logisym Supply Chain conference in Singapore and just last week the IATA World Cargo Symposium in Berlin.

It was the first time in a very long time that I have attended any Supply Chain & Logistics related events outside of the Middle East yet the same issues around attracting and retaining people in the sector that are discussed regularly across the MEA Region also featured heavily at both of these events. I am sure if I went to similar events in North or South America I would hear exactly the same.

As you are reading this you might well be wondering why I am specifically addressing people in their early or mid-career stage, surely I should be aiming this towards the  current leaders, not the future leaders?

Well here’s the reason.

When you become the next CEO or Global Supply Chain Director you are going to need a ready supply of people just as todays leaders need this right now. The difference is the current leaders have left it far too late and now we are constantly talking about how to make the sector more attractive as there is a huge shortage of new blood.

Those discussions should have already been happening years ago, the current situation is that we are struggling to attract talent to the Supply Chain today but for those of you in your early or mid careers it’s a perfect time too start talking up the sector and getting fresh talent interested because you are going to need those people when its your turn in the driving seat.

In short its essential that you start getting used to being an ambassador for the Supply Chain sector right now! Do everything in your power to gain the interest of school leavers, fresh graduates, and  also anyone else you can think of who may be open to a career change because these people are going to be your talent pool in years to come.

SC brand

Everyone complains about the challenges in finding new people for the sector right now and its a real problem, but lets face it we have all dropped the ball in the past.

Lets not make the same mistake again as there’s no time like the present to give a boost to the Supply Chain & Logistics brand!

Heres a great Chinese proverb which sums this up perfectly.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

 


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The People Supply Chain Top 10’s “Top tips for personal LinkedIn leverage!”

However you intend to use LinkedIn its guaranteed that you are going to benefit from increasing the visibility and quality of your profile!

Get noticed

Here are “The People Supply Chain’s” top ten tips for you to get the most out of the world’s largest professional networking site in order to improve your personal profile and stand out from the crowd!

  1. Keep your profile upto date!
  1. Be clear on how you want to be seen by others

Build your personal brand! Take time to write a personal yet professional profile summary that makes it clear who you are, what you do and what you have to offer.

  1. Ensure your career history on LinkedIn matches your CV (Everybody checks!)
  1. But… don’t just use LinkedIn whenever you need a new job!

Make it a part of your daily routine to regularly; Like, Comment and Share Information and Articles, LinkedIn Pulse is a great resource for posting your own articles as it has a wide reach and also makes it easy for other users to interact with you and share your posts. Regular posts, likes and shares will ensure your profile stays ahead of the crowd and remains visible to others, and if you did happen to be on the look out for a move then staying high profile may ensure that new job will find you…!

  1. Use it for research and professional development

Read articles, soak up knowledge and generally aim to stay abreast of what’s happening in your industry. If you work in a commercial role use it to identify key decision makers, organizations and industry groups.

  1. Use a professional photo

No selfie’s or party shots! But do ensure your photo fits with your profile in terms of how you wish to portray yourself.

  1. Complete as many of the individual sections under the profile editor as possible

A complete profile will show up in far more searches than an incomplete one making you more visible! (Dropping in a few keywords is a big help!)

  1. Join relevant LinkedIn groups and contribute to them as often as possible!

Think visibility! You are growing your personal brand and positioning yourself as an expert in your industry.

  1. Continuously work on growing your network of contacts

Focus on quality not quantity, try to ensure that the majority of connections could be deemed as beneficial to you from a professional point of view for example potential business partners, employers, colleagues, customers. (even if they are on the other side of the world it doesn’t matter if they are useful / relevant contacts). Think six degrees of separation!

  1. Upload Multimedia to your profile

Add Powerpoint Presentations, Links to video’s or articles and websites. Think of it as your personal portfolio, its your page and your big chance to showcase your talents!


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The People Supply Chain Top 10’s “Networking Tips”

The majority of people are not natural networkers and many simply lack the confidence to put themselves in a networking environment, so where do you start and how can you get the most out of business networking or even just gain more confidence when attending networking events?

There are many online resources and their is lots of advice available with hints and tips on how to network, you should definitely take the time to read up as much information as possible but remember ultimately at some point you will just need to throw yourself in at the deep end as the best experience will come from getting out there and doing it for real!

I have been attending, supporting, and leading networking events for years now but I don’t believe I was a natural when I started, I just got better at it by ensuring that I was regularly attending as many events as possible and as a result I believe I have done enough networking and have been successful enough to be able to share some of my advice and experience with others.

If my advice helps just one or two people to improve their networking skills or encourages them to get out there and network more then it’s been a success in my view!

Here are my top 10 tips and advice for business networking.

  1. The cardinal rule – always be genuine, effective business networks work on trust so be yourself.
  1. Pay it forward – Don’t just think what can others do for me? Think instead what support you can offer to others, your efforts will be rewarded at some point as it will come full circle one day!
  1. Be clear on what you want to achieve – Why do you want the new contacts? Is it about learning or sharing challenges and issues? Do you just want to stay on top of what’s happening in your market? Is it more about keeping up to speed on regulatory changes etc? It could be all of these or simply that you want to spend time with like minded people who go through the same day to day ups and downs and face the same business challenges as you.
  1. Network in the right places – Once you know what you want to achieve you can think about which types of networking events you would likely get the most benefit from, do your research!
  1. Understand that every group of people and event is different – Bear in mind that the dynamics of networking events and groups of people can be drastically different even in the same industries so try out various events until you find the right group of people for you.
  1. Stay connected after the events – Use your calendar to to set reminder alerts ensuring you keep in touch with the people who you meet where there is mutual value to be gained from the relationship.
  1. Don’t just wait for the next formal event – Aim to catch up in person with people between events for one on one discussions (coffee, breakfast or lunch always works well).
  1. Never sell to, or pressure people – There is nothing worse than going to a networking event to be bombarded by someone looking for commitment right there and then for some kind of product or service.
  1. Be professional – Represent yourself and your business appropriately at all times, its business networking after all and even if the environment at some events may appear quite casual bear in mind that everyone is ultimately there for business purposes.
  1. Be honest and consistent – If your networking efforts are honorable and regular you will ultimately create an ever expanding circle of trusted professional contacts who become your business referral network as well as your support network (See number 1. The cardinal rule).

Networking tips


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The Networked Supply Chain Professional

Ensuring you remain well networked within the People Supply Chain is key to success for many Supply Chain professionals.

Networking experience and ability should be a no brainer for people in commercial management roles, but what if your whole career to date has been focused on operational management functions in the Supply Chain and you haven’t been making a conscious effort to build your business networks.

The truth is that if you are a Supply Chain professional with a pure operational focus you are probably already an excellent relationship builder and networker as your working week will involve dealing with many stakeholders both internal and external, including people from Government entities to MNC’s, local organizations and SME’s.

You will have been regularly building working relationships as well as influencing, supporting, and also challenging people in order to keep your part of the Supply Chain running smoothly.

I am willing to bet that when a Supply Chain professional has made significant improvements to an organisations Supply Chain it has been largely due to their ability to foster relationships and positively influence people from all walks of life.

Facts, figures, and overall analysis provide the visibility to know what needs to be changed or what can be improved but the only way to successfully implement these things is by winning over the people.

If you take the Supply Chain on a local, regional or even a global level I don’t think we see enough operational Supply Chain professionals actively networking with their counter parts in other organizations including those from their competitors in order to understand if they are sharing the same challenges or can support one another to run more efficient Supply Chains.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of Supply Chain focused events and conferences going on constantly around the world where SC professionals get together and briefly network during the breaks between presentations and panel discussions, there are also plenty of steering committees and industry bodies which promise to champion the cause of Supply Chain (Only a few manage to do this effectively).

That’s all good, but my big question is this…

How many people in operational Supply Chain management functions make a point of getting together with their counterparts in other organizations on a fairly regular basis just to catch up for a coffee or a bite to eat and chat about the Supply Chain in general?

For the cost of a drink and some of your time I am sure there will be good advice to share and you might also highlight some  challenges which could be overcome through sharing experiences or taking action together.

The more networked Supply Chain professionals we have in the sector the better, and with enough people having these kinds of meetings a bigger picture outcome could well be improvement of global supply chain efficiencies and standards in the future!

So if you aren’t already an avid networker then please don’t just wait for the formal industry conferences and events, I would suggest being proactive and reaching out to some of your counterparts with the aim of getting together for a chat once in a while, if nothing else I am sure you will be able to share some useful information about the market!

The Supply Chain only works because of the people involved!

Networked People


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Planning your personal route to market.

So you’ve decided its time for a move…

Before you even write your CV and commence your Job Search you should really have a plan in place.

A few very basic things to consider.

  • What’s the ideal job that you have enough experience for and the right qualifications to take on right now?
  • Which companies would you like to work for?
  • Where are they based?
  • Do they have a career portal?
  • Who are their competitors?
  • Which are the best online jobs boards to use in order to find the type of job you are looking for?
  • Who are the main recruiters which specialize in your area of experience in the region where you are looking to work?
  • Can you leverage the networks of any of your existing contacts, ex-colleagues, friends, social media or industry groups to help open doors and make connections with key decision makers at the companies you wish to work for?
  • Are your salary expectations realistic?

Be realistic.

  • Apply to jobs which you are definitely qualified & have relevant experience for
  • Be aware that the jobs market is constantly changing, especially in recent years. It could be that the package you earn today is already above the current market average
  • No one wants to go backwards but bear in mind the days of a 20-30% pay increase to move jobs are long gone

Stay Focused.

  • Think of your job search as a sales pipeline… you are the product!
  • Make a plan, set yourself targets and aim for quality of applications, not quantity
  • Track your activity (A good old Excel sheet will do just fine)
  • Once you have a plan in place and an idea of what you are aiming for you can tailor your resume to suit (Next Phase)

You can spend your time applying for thousands of jobs which aren’t quite right or spend the same amount of time applying for a smaller number of jobs where you absolutely have the right experience and therefore more chance of a positive response.

Its not a perfect science but get as close to the latter as possible and your potential for success has already increased!

Plan your personal RTM


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