In my early 30’s I began work with a high technology manufacturing company that had multiple plants in Canada and United States. The type of high tech manufacturing company where engineers turn their low light lamps on upon arrival and the timing of proprietary components rules the day.
As the leader of the Supply Chain for the organization I was tasked with maximizing our inventory turns and stemming the turnover tidal wave that had hit our company. My first few weeks were spent fulfilling my introverted side by studying hundreds of files of data looking for trends, learning, and direction for how we could improve our metrics.
A profound event happened in those first few weeks. My new boss walked into my office on a rainy Tuesday am at 7:15 and promptly slammed my laptop shut.
He had my full attention.
We locked eyes and the force was with him and not me. His eyes screamed passion and I new my career was about to be impacted. What he said next was profoundly simplistic and had an impact.
“Leadership is about people not technology! Get out of your office and start connecting with your people.”
While I consider myself a people person, I realized that between text messages, emails, document sharing, conference calls, and social media I could fill up my day and ‘feel busy’. I was becoming distracted with tasks and briefly forgot that the answers to many of our struggling supply chain metrics lay within my team. I just needed to go out and spend time with them. For the next 6 months I committed to travelling to meet my supply chain teams in Canada and United States and realized that together we could accomplish exceptional supply chain results. The data helped identify the opportunity but the problem was solved with time spent with the people.