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December 1, 2023

How to Make Supply Chain a Boardroom Topic

In recent years, supply chain management has gained significant prominence and proximity in boardroom discussions. With organizations recognizing the strategic importance of a responsive and resilient supply chain, supply chain leaders must focus on elevating their role and positioning their organizations for success in the digital future. In this article, we will delve into the top five takeaways from a keynote session by Radu Palamariu, Managing Director at Alcott Global, who introduces the transformative CHAIN Leadership Model (Collaborative, Holistic, Adaptable, Influential, Narrative) and provides actionable insights for supply chain leaders.

1. Supply Chain Prominence and Challenges:

Supply chain has gained prominence within organizations, with leaders being called to board meetings to address supply chain challenges. However, maintaining this seat at the board table poses a challenge. Many supply chain professionals are highly competent in their technical skills but struggle to effectively communicate the value they bring to the organization. This disconnect hinders their ability to secure long-term board-level positions.

2. The Importance of Influence:

One crucial skill for supply chain leaders is influence. The ability to influence stakeholders, including board members, is vital for getting decisions approved and implementing strategies effectively. While data is essential, simply presenting data without considering the language and key performance indicators (KPIs) that resonate with the board can hinder effective communication. Supply chain leaders should focus on linking their data-driven insights to the board's KPIs and conveying the value of supply chain initiatives in a way that others understand.

3. Crafting a Compelling Narrative:

Narrative plays a crucial role in conveying the value of supply chain initiatives. A clear and concise narrative helps leaders articulate what they are trying to achieve and how it aligns with the organization's goals. Supply chain leaders should distill their narrative into a simple and relatable message that resonates with different stakeholders, from frontline employees to senior executives. By owning and effectively communicating their narrative, leaders can secure buy-in from the broader organization, enabling successful implementation of supply chain strategies.

4. Learning from Successful Examples:

The book "Source to Sold" offers insights from 26 successful supply chain leaders who have achieved high-level positions, including CEOs and chief supply chain officers. These leaders provide valuable lessons on how they presented supply chain initiatives and sold their ideas within their organizations. By learning from their experiences, supply chain professionals can gain inspiration and guidance on how to elevate their own roles within their organizations.

5. Simplify and Unify with Narrative:

Ken Allen's successful transformation of DHL Express demonstrates the power of a simplified narrative. Allen used songs as a tool to unify his organization and communicate the transformational goals in a relatable way. This approach enabled all employees, from delivery personnel to senior executives, to understand and rally behind the narrative. Simplifying the narrative and making it relatable to all stakeholders helps ensure that the organization is aligned and supportive of supply chain initiatives.

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