My LinkedIn July 2020 article titled Manufacturing a future for Australia1 surrounds how we have scrambled to establish alternate local supply lines for goods, including personal protective equipment (PPE) masks and groceries, as well as services, such as call center support and as-a-service provisioning.
We do need this resilience in our supply chains, as a recent McKinsey report2 suggests, because supply networks were designed for efficiency, cost, and proximity to markets but not necessarily for transparency or resilience. This report states, “Companies need to have an understanding of their exposure, vulnerabilities and potential losses to inform their resilience strategies…[especially] now they are operating in a world where disruptions are regular occurrences.”3
I’d suggest that we also need to be aware of our personal resilience we cope with, not only for the enduring COVID-19 crisis, but for subsequent crises which McKinsey estimates are now occurring every 3.7 years.
It is hard to cope with uncertainty and crises, whether from natural disasters or man-made disasters (including cyber insecurity), but increasingly this is a key skill for Contract and Commercial Managers. We need that right balance of ‘hard’ skills to build this supply chain transparency and risk management, along with the even harder ‘soft’ skills of building trusted relationships with our internal customers and external suppliers which will withstand the shocks of a crisis.
To build positive relationships, we know that we need to have strong IQ and EQ i.e. the emotional intelligence to listen, have empathy for the other party, and to demonstrate integrity or reliability in what we say and do. To do this reliably, especially during a crisis, also requires resilience (i.e. the ability to bounce back in the face of adversity).
Like our supply chains, we need:
- transparency of our personal exposure, vulnerabilities and potential losses in response to the crisis.
- alternate sources of supply -- in this case energy, encouragement and empathy.
As individuals, we are encouraged4 to build our own resilience strategies:
- Take time for self-reflection – asking what’s happening, how is it impacting me, what has worked for me in the past?
- Pay attention to the emotions that are most useful by asking yourself, is this the right time or place to feel this emotion, how am I impacting others, can I reframe it as learning?
- Identify what you can and cannot influence by recognizing that you are capable of managing yourself even when faced with challenges you did not cause.
- Set personal goals by having a clear goal and purpose which motivates action.
- Remain open to learning and growth by investing your energy into learning how you best cope and build a toolbox of resilience strategies.
We do need to be kind to ourselves in a time of crisis, pushing for productivity and accepting that it cannot be 100%. The Pareto Principle of 80:205 dials in at this point as we reflect on how we can best focus our energies while allowing time for recharging our personal supply of enthusiasm and optimism.
We also need to be kind to our customers and suppliers, again accepting that we need to balance time for charging ahead with our performance goals with allowing time for recharging of our customers’ or suppliers’ capability and capacity. To help us do this, we might ask:
- How do we know the impact of the crisis on this level of capability and capacity?
- How do we know when to charge and when to recharge?
I’d suggest that we use the same five points for individual resilience by:
- reflecting upon the situation together;
- calling out the emotions and behaviors that are most useful;
- identifying the things that can be changed and accepting the things that cannot;
- setting shared goals to motivate collaborative action; and
- remaining open to ask ‘what is this teaching us and how can we use this to adapt?
This is what IACCM members are doing in so many different ways and why we are calling for nominations for our annual Innovation & Excellence Awards – apply at https://www.iaccm.com/awards/innovation-and-excellence/.
Let’s seek to encourage each other and to build personal and organizational resilience for now and future.
- Manufacturing a future for Australia, Bruce Everett, LinkedIn. See also In crises, resilience is key for individuals and companies, Bruce Everett, LinkedIn.
- Risk, resilience and rebalancing in global value chains, McKinsey and Company August 6, 2020, report.
- Risk, resilience, and rebalancing in global value chains, McKinsey report, August 6, 2020
- Adapted from psychologist, Snow Chen, in Acuity Magazine Aug-Sep 2020 page 72. See Aug/Sep
- Pareto Principle of 80:20 as defined by Wikipedia.