Archive for the "Leadership" Category


Top 5 Leadership Posts of 2018

Top 5 Leadership Posts of 2018

Our most-viewed leadership posts from this year discuss the characteristics of effective leadership, point out industry trends, and provide resources for leadership growth.

Our top leadership posts from 2018 examine what makes a good leader, as well as what makes a bad leader, and the ramifications of each. They also look at some executive thought leadership about industry trends, notably corporate social responsibility, and talk about how supply chain leaders can make use of social media.

Here are our top 5 leadership posts from 2018.

Fronetics’ top 5 leadership posts of 2018

1. Why CSR: Four Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility is a pretty broad term to describe how a company is working to improve its community. And 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for products from socially responsible companies. What does that mean for you? It means that corporate social responsibility is as good for your community as it is for your own brand. Here are four major benefits of corporate social responsibility. Read more.

55% of consumers are willing to pay more for products from socially responsible companies. What does that mean for you? It means that corporate social responsibility is as good for your community as it is for your own brand. Click To Tweet

2. 5 Must-Read Books for Supply Chain Leaders

Great leaders embody the ability to inspire and empower their teams to succeed. Here are five books that we recommend reading to keep getting the job done: empowering your team, learning about industry trends, updating your management practices, and other key insights. Read more.

3. 5 Social Media Tips for Supply Chain Executives

Supply Chain Management and its related functions (Procurement, Planning, Vendor Management, Logistics, Operations) are on the opposite end of the spectrum from functions like sales and marketing – areas where your brand is everything. But from our perspective, there are still lots of different benefits that Supply Chain and Procurement executives can gain from building their social media brands. Read more.

4. What’s the Cost of Bad Leadership in Procurement?

Everyone knows that a bad hire can be really costly to a business. When you account for hiring, training, and onboarding costs, plus the opportunity cost of not hiring a successful employee – not to mention the impact on workplace culture – hiring the wrong person can set a company back tens of thousands of dollars. Read more.

5. Supply Chain Leaders: Do These 4 Things with Your Social Media

We’ve written many times before about the importance of supply chain leaders being on social media as the face of their brands. Social media presents a huge opportunity for executives to use their relative industry celebrity to be an extension of their organizations. So you are ready to commit to a more active social media presence (or you’re going to be ghost-posting for your executive). Where do you begin? We’ve come up with 4 tips for supply chain leaders to making the most of their presence on social media. Read more.

Related posts:

effective content strategy

 

Archive for the "Leadership" Category


5 Secrets to Creating Infographics that Will Wow Supply Chain Buyers

5 Secrets to Creating Infographics that Will Wow Supply Chain Buyers

Infographics are a content powerhouse, but creating them isn’t always easy. These five tips will help you make the most of this format.

Infographics can be one of the most effective content mediums. We know that digital natives, who make up the majority of B2B buyers today, prefer short-form, highly visual content. So infographics make a lot of sense when it comes to speaking their language.

Infographics can be one of the most effective content mediums. We know that digital natives, who make up the majority of B2B buyers today, prefer short-form, highly visual content. Click To Tweet

Infographics are also prime candidates for reposts on social media. But, if you’ve ever tried to create one yourself, you know making an effective infographic is a lot harder than it sounds.

It might seem daunting at first, but these five tips will go a long way to help you in creating infographics that are effective in engaging supply chain buyers.

5 tips for creating infographics that engage supply chain buyers

1.      It’s all about the title

Well, maybe not all, but your title does matter a lot. When it comes to infographics, your audience will definitely be judging a book by its cover. This means that your title should be accurate, short (70 characters or less), descriptive, and engaging. This is how your audience will decide whether they’ll click and read.

2.      Colors matter

You’d be surprised by how much people are influenced by color in their content choices. The color scheme you choose should make your readers feel comfortable and should be visually appealing. This generally means sticking to two main colors and using no more than four colors. Use clear, bold colors for your main colors, and subtle, warm tones for complimentary colors.

3.      Bump up your SEO

There aren’t a lot of downsides to infographics, but, unfortunately, there is one: publishing them on your blog doesn’t do much for your SEO, since text in infographics is contained in the image and isn’t recognized by search bots. But there’s an easy way around this: Include a transcript of your text with your graphic. I recommend writing at least 350 words, in addition to the graphic, to boost SEO.

4.      Keep it simple

There’s a reason that simplicity is king when it comes to graphic design online. Increasingly, designers and businesses are favoring clean, minimalistic layouts. This means few unnecessary elements and plenty of white space so as not to overwhelm readers and to convey information without unnecessary distractions.

5.      Get interactive!

If you’ve mastered creating infographics and are feeling ambitious, try taking on the next big thing: interactive designs. This means your readers can engage with your content, whether by hovering over it, clicking on it, or even answering questions or taking a quiz.

There are a number of infographic-creation tools available on the internet these days. At Fronetics, we really like using Canva, which has plenty of templates that are easy to use and do a lot of the design work for you.

What are your tips for creating infographics?

Related posts:

on writing good content

Archive for the "Leadership" Category


In This Job Market, More Companies are Lowering Experience Requirements

In This Job Market, More Companies are Lowering Experience Requirements

In today’s job market, candidates are in such high demand, companies are posting positions with little or no experience requirements.

This guest post comes to us from Argentus Supply Chain Recruiting, a boutique recruitment firm specializing in Supply Chain Management and Procurement.

On the Argentus blog, we’ve spent the past few months charting the strong job market and its effects on hiring. My, how things have changed. A few short years ago, publications were writing about how employers weren’t bothering to hire for their open positions. Now, candidates are in such high demand, companies are more and more doing something that would be considered radical in the previous economy: posting positions with no experience requirements.

Companies like Microsoft, Bank of America and Github, are in particular relaxing education requirements and looking at candidates who don’t have degrees for positions that would have required a degree during the recession. Click To Tweet

Kelsey Gee at the Wall Street Journal gave some frontline reporting about the talent picture in the U.S. economy, which is beginning to see strong wage growth follow historically low unemployment rates. She charts how more companies are becoming flexible in their hiring process, to the point of doing away with experience requirements for some positions completely. We’ve written before to argue that companies should hire people for their potential – especially junior employees – and in this market it seems that more companies are putting this into practice.  Companies like Microsoft, Bank of America and Github, are in particular relaxing education requirements and looking at candidates who don’t have degrees for positions that would have required a degree during the recession.

Alicia Modestino, an economist at Northeastern University, has argued that in times of recession companies tend to raise job requirements, like in 2008. In times of expansion – like we’re seeing now – companies become more flexible in their requirements to compete for talent, a practice Modestino calls “Down-skilling.”

At first, it might be easy to assume that companies are only doing this for transactional or administrative positions, but the Wall Street Journal interviewed the President of SCM talent group – a Supply Chain Recruitment firm in the U.S. – who said that companies are re-evaluating their requirements for Supply Chain Managers and other strategic positions. He said that his recruitment firm has been turning away clients who want to fish for underpaid or unaware applicants instead of bolstering education, experience and compensation levels in order to compete.

At Argentus, we’re working in the same vertical in Canada. Candidates in our market are in such high demand that we’ve been doing the same.

Anecdotally, we’ve seen a small uptick in roles for high-potential entry level grads in Supply Chain Management – (though still not as many as we’d like to see, with the high number of new grads that come to us!) Companies are becoming slightly more willing to relax requirements on the junior end to hire quickly; in a hiring market as strong as this one, “entry level” can actually mean entry level instead of, paradoxically, requiring at least 3 years of experience. But companies should be more flexible, at least if they want to actually hire instead of kicking tires.

In strong job markets, companies can’t afford to hire the same way they did during a recession. More employees in Procurement and Supply Chain are waking up to their own value, and the strong job market is compounding an already-considerable talent crunch. Hiring managers can’t afford to practice magical thinking in their hiring in this economy – the type of thinking that says, “if we post it, they will come,” or that treats employees like they have no leverage in the process.

The WSJ outlined three options that companies have to keep down hiring costs and secure talent in this market:

  • Offer more money up front
  • Retrain current staff to upskill them for changing requirements, or:
  • Become more flexible in their job requirements.

All three are valuable options, but for some reason the third one has always been a bit of a third rail. Hiring is a risk, and companies don’t want to hire someone who can’t do the job. But just because someone hasn’t done the exact same thing before, or just because they don’t have a degree, or just because they’ve done it before, but in another country, doesn’t mean they can’t do it.

There will always be lots of positions with considerable requirements that can’t be flexed away: a Director of Vendor management who’s conducting a business transformation obviously needs to have done that in the past. A Senior Manager tasked with setting up a totally new Supply Chain needs the deep base of knowledge and connections that certain experience provides. The necessity of strong experience and education requirements makes sense for some positions.

But for a Supply Chain Analyst, or a Buyer role, companies are well-served to relax hard-and-fast requirements and treat applicants on a case by case basis. Assess skills, assess technical and analytical capability, without requiring that candidates fit a specific experiential profile.

In our interviews with senior Supply Chain and Procurement leadership, one thing we hear again and again is that strong business acumen and soft skills – in other words, potential – is more important for junior employees than specific education requirements. So if the Wall Street Journal report is accurate, and more companies are waking up to this line of thinking, you know what?

Bring it on.

Related posts:

social media white paper download

Archive for the "Leadership" Category


Are You a Supply Chain Leader Who Embraces Change?

Are You a Supply Chain Leader Who Embraces Change?

In today’s rapidly evolving economy, embracing change is crucial for success. These 5 behaviors define supply chain leaders who are change-agile.

They say the only constant in life is change. When it comes to leadership in the supply chain, the old adage certainly rings true.

If the last few decades have been consistent in any regard, it has been in the need to embrace change to keep things running. Agile leadership has been crucial for supply chain and logistics businesses. Are you the kind of leader that truly embraces change?

Why do I need to embrace change?

NextBridge Consulting managing partner Edith Onderick-Harvey identifies 5 behaviors that are common among agile leaders. Onderick-Harvey points to an inability to embrace change as a key cause of failure in business — making the idea of “change-agile” leadership a crucial part of a business and a leader’s DNA.

Being a successful leader depends on embracing change by “seizing opportunities, including throwing out old models and developing new ways of doing business,” writes Onderick-Harvey. Click To Tweet

Change isn’t easy in any area of life, and corporate leadership is no exception. However, being a successful leader depends on embracing change by “seizing opportunities, including throwing out old models and developing new ways of doing business,” writes Onderick-Harvey. She stresses the importance of inculcating a culture of “change thinking… from the most fundamental daily interactions to the most complex strategy.”

What defines a change-agile leader?

Onderick-Harvey identifies these five behaviors that are characteristic of change-agile leaders:

1. They share a compelling, clear purpose.

Embracing change just for the sake of isn’t enough. “If you can’t articulate a clear purpose behind the changes being made,” says Onderick-Harvey, “it’s unlikely that your employees will be able to implement them.”

2. They look ahead and see opportunity.

It’s not just senior executives who should be looking toward future opportunities. A culture of change-agility should pervade every level of the corporate structure. “Look beyond this month or this year to identify trends and take action.”

3. They seek out what’s not working.

Being a change-agile leader goes beyond simply being receptive to unsuccessful projects — it’s about encouraging communication and actively seeking out what isn’t working at any level of your business. “For real learning to occur,” writes Onderick-Harvey, “people need to feel psychologically safe to share the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

4. They promote calculated risk-taking and experimentation.

We all know that risk and experimentation are crucial for growth, but many of us are too reticent to boldly embrace these concepts. It’s not easy to remember that failure is an important step on the way to success. “Change agility requires leaders to ask ‘Why not?’ and to establish opportunities for pilots, prototypes, and experimentation.”

5. They look for boundary-spanning partnerships.

As the world grows ever more interconnected and work becomes more complex, success is increasingly dependent on seeking out collaboration across boundaries. “Change-agile leaders and organizations are replacing functional silos with formal and informal organizations that allow for the rapid flow of information and decision-making around a product, customer, or region.”

Welcoming and embracing change is good for every aspect of your business’ health. Do these behaviors sound like you? What can you do to promote change-agility in your business’ culture?

Related posts:

effective content strategy

Archive for the "Leadership" Category


What’s the Cost of Bad Leadership in Procurement?

What’s the Cost of Bad Leadership in Procurement?

Bad leadership in procurement has the potential to sink a company’s reputation, making it difficult to hire at all levels below it.

This guest post comes to us from Argentus Supply Chain Recruiting, a boutique recruitment firm specializing in Supply Chain Management and Procurement.

Everyone knows that a bad hire can be really costly to a business. When you account for hiring, training, and onboarding costs, plus the opportunity cost of not hiring a successful employee – not to mention the impact on workplace culture – hiring the wrong person can set a company back tens of thousands of dollars. This is something that people have written about widely across the vast array of blogs about talent.

But what are the costs of hiring the wrong employee (or employees) at the leadership level of a business?

It’s something we’ve been thinking about recently at Argentus. As a firm that helps companies hire at all levels, we have our ears to the ground about the costs that companies bear when leadership issues have hurt their reputations in the marketplace. So particularly in Procurement – one of our core areas of recruitment expertise – what’s the cost of hiring the wrong leadership?

In short, it’s this: a bad hire at the junior level costs lots of money, but a bad hire at the leadership level has the potential to upset the apple cart and sink a company’s reputation, making it difficult to hire at all levels below it. Having the wrong leader in place can create a noxious effect that filters down into senior managers, managers, sole contributors, and junior employees. Procurement sometimes struggles to get buy-in from executives and stakeholders, and having mishandled leadership can make this task even more difficult for everyone in the organization.

Even if it’s a company with a storied history and a powerhouse brand as an employer, word always gets out if the wrong leadership is in place within any specific function. It means that individuals won’t apply for jobs. They won’t respond when recruiters contact them about certain opportunities.  At a certain point, it becomes hard to find recruiters who are even willing to help hire for open roles at the company. Given that recruiters, especially those who work on a contingent basis, are usually all over clients trying to send them candidates, if a recruiter won’t work with a company, you know something must be wrong.

As we’ve written about a lot, the marketplace for talent in Procurement and Supply Chain is particularly tight in this strong economy. Companies are battling to bring in star performers who can enact business transformations, implement total cost of ownership models, boost their vendor and risk management, and modernize their Procurement as the function evolves for the future. And if your Procurement leadership develops a negative reputation in the marketplace, attracting those individuals becomes simply impossible.

We should clarify what we mean by bad leadership in Procurement.

We all know it when we’ve seen it, but there are a few traits that ineffective leaders have in common: quite often, they’re individuals tasked with leadership of a Strategic Sourcing organization who don’t have boots on the ground experience in Procurement. They often don’t have the war wounds to understand the function from bottom to top. Strategy and vision are important, but subject matter expertise helps leaders gain credibility with the managers and analysts who are expected to execute that vision.

We all know it when we’ve seen it, but there are a few traits that ineffective leaders have in common: quite often, they’re individuals tasked with leadership of a Strategic Sourcing organization who don’t have boots on the ground… Click To Tweet

It’s not absolutely necessary for a CPO or VP of Procurement to have done every job in the function. But if they haven’t, it’s important for them to be able to be humble enough to recognize the subject matter expertise of the people they’re working with – especially if they’re expected to bring changes to the organization. A great leader will admit the gaps in their own knowledge, and work to figure out how they can combine their strengths with those of their team. A bad leader will act like they understand every detail of every Procurement process and category – even if they don’t.

Beyond that, in our experience, the biggest issue with troubled Procurement leadership often comes down to soft skills. For a function that often comes down to negotiation, relationship-building, and getting buy-in, people skills are everything. Ineffective leaders will micromanage, yell, and show a lack of respect for junior employees. How can a leader expect to get buy-in from executives if they can’t build relationships with their own team members? The best leaders in Procurement will empower their teams to pursue cost savings, minimize risk, and increase value without watching them like a hawk.

Leadership is a topic so complex it’s inspired a cottage industry of books and academic research – so we can’t hope to address everything about how to hire effective leaders. But what can companies do to make sure they don’t risk the almost-priceless commodity of their employer brand by installing bad leadership? Be very careful about the leaders that you hire. These individuals should either be subject matter experts, or be very willing to learn from their team-members. When interviewing prospective hires, try to assess their ability to be empathetic and build consensus, and be wary about boasts that they can enact sweeping changes through their force of will alone.

If you can’t, you might be risking more than just the time it took to hire.

Related posts:

effective content strategy

Archive for the "Leadership" Category


Are You a Toxic Leader?

Are You a Toxic Leader?

Here are three warning signs that you may be a toxic leader and how you can make changes to avoid these damaging behaviors.

Let’s face it: As the leader of a company, region, or even a team, you have the power to influence those that report to you. This can be a great asset to teams governed by leaders that pride themselves on hard work, respect, and open communication.

But what about a leader that does the exact opposite? A leader whose behavior creates a negative, possibly even hostile, working environment?

Toxic leader: who are you?

A toxic leader is defined as a person who has responsibility over a group of people or an organization, and who abuses the leader–follower relationship by leaving the group or organization in a worse condition than when they first found them.

It’s easy for toxic leaders to blame poor performance and low morale on individuals within the team. But, at some point, it’s important to see if the way employees are managed is a direct reflection of their leadership.

Here are three warning signs that you might be a toxic leader and how to fix the behavior.

3 signs you’re a toxic leader

1. Scattered priorities

This type of toxic leader is an expert in failed time management. Leaders that are unable to prioritize tasks and allow employees to focus on getting their work done are really working to waste their most valuable resources: their trained team.

A recent survey conducted by consulting firm RHR International showed that among high-performing leadership teams, 93% are able to prioritize the most important issues and 96% focus on the right issues. But in low-performing leadership teams, only 62% prioritize well and 53% are focused on the right issues.

Change: Leadership that calls meetings without a set agenda, leaves issues unresolved, and veers off topic when met with questions needs to sit down and start to focus. Toxic leaders that find themselves with scattered priorities can easily get back on track by creating lists that document daily, weekly, and even monthly tasks. Work with your team to delegate tasks and create solutions to issues, and then give them the space to work on their assignments.

2. Unhealthy rivalries

The overly competitive leader with an eye on perfection often has a ‘winning is everything’ attitude, even if comes at the detriment of their team. This toxic leader doesn’t mind leaving broken employees on the sidelines if it means getting ahead.

The overly competitive leader with an eye on perfection often has a ‘winning is everything’ attitude, even if comes at the detriment of their team. Click To Tweet

In reality, instead of getting ahead, these toxic leaders create a hostile work environment, where employees lose interest in their jobs due to unobtainable demands and a lack of trust in their leadership.

Change: Leadership, and the rest of their team, must work as a unified team. “Shared goals must be accompanied by shared accountability,” writes Ron Carucci, co-founder and managing partner at leadership consulting firm Navalent, for Harvard Business Review. Remove the unnecessary competition from the workplace, and focus on dividing and conquering so everyone is doing their best and achieving their best.

3. Unproductive conflict

When conflicts arise, and they are most certainly going to, leaders need to step in quickly and efficiently to resolve the situation. When organizations have leaders that create or improperly handle conflict, the rest of the team follows their lead.

These leaders often have a reason or excuse for any issues that arise and rarely take responsibility for their role in the matter. With high confidence in their abilities, toxic leaders with unproductive conflict often believe they are right and surround themselves with people that won’t challenge them.

Change: Leadership needs to have certain behaviors that absolutely will not engage in: speaking negatively about team members or other employees or withholding feedback or suggestions that will positively impact their team. If you can relate to any of these points, sit down and write out behaviors that you will no longer engage in. Distribute this list to your team and regularly assess how you’re doing with your list and where you need to personally make tweaks.

What are some other sign of a toxic leader?

Related posts:

content marketing for the logistics and supply chain industries