As the year 2017 comes to an end, Supply Chain Matters shares some thoughts for resolutions, vision and goal-setting for the upcoming year, with a special emphasis for millennial generation readers.

As all can well imagine, being consistently recognized as one of the top thought leadership social media voices in supply chain management, our email accounts often receive a lot of referenced content relative to timely and trending topics. We are therefore selective on which topics or content have special meaning for our global-based supply chain management focused readers. Establishing Vision

An infographic hosted on The Startup web site, titled as: Are You a Leader or a Manager, especially caught this Editor’s attention this closing week of 2017. The reason it resonated was an ongoing observation that I have had, namely, how many truly recognized supply chain management leaders currently exist across multi-industry supply chains. Putting aside titles such as Vice-President or Chief Supply Chain Officer (CSCO) or Chief Procurement Officer (CPO), what manifests leadership vs. other traits?

I found the referenced infographic to be very helpful in clarifying the differences, especially pertaining to today’s broader umbrella of supply chain management influence and business process performance responsibilities.

According to the authors, leaders seek vision, initiate change, think long-term, take risk and build relationships and employee following from those willing to contribute their skills and talents. Managers on the other hand, focus on objectives, attempt to maintain stability, minimize risks, focus on short-term deliverables and depend on existing organizational skills. Author Garret Norris eloquently states the prime differences:

But while it can be confusing for many, it actually boils down to a single principle: leaders are all managers, but not all managers are leaders. In the most basic sense, the difference between the two is how they motivate people to work toward a common goal.

Placed in context with the many short-term focused goals that tend to sometimes surround and drive supply chain management teams, there can be a tendency to focus more on the near-term desired objectives vs. broader vision and transformation. That is an especially important concept for our up and coming, next generation supply chain leaders to internalize. Rise above the tendencies to always renforce and reward short-term performance and instead focus on the broader goals of required team capabilities and outcomes.

Perhaps that can be a resolution for the new year, a desire to focus more on leadership traits knowing that leaders are all managers, and they foster an environment of broad vision, energy, creativity, and team commitment.

Over the past several weeks, Supply Chain Matters has shared what to expect in 2018, our 2018 Predictions for Industry and Global Supply Chains divided into Part One and Part Two segments. Readers will likely find the common themes in broad vision and team commitments needed to embrace ongoing change and context expected challenges into a vision of future supply chain excellence. It should be little surprise that the supply chain talent perfect storm permeates many of such challenges, in-part because our function requires to nurture more future leaders.

We extend best wishes to all for a successful and rewarding 2018 and for successful attainment of all personal career and family resolutions.

Bob Ferrari

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