Supply chain leaders often find themselves in the hot seat. Not because they’ve done anything wrong, but because they manage against external factors that cause real consequences to a business. Leaders push this group for answers and insights because they need to know how to resolve problems quickly.
For supply chain communicators, it means knowing the ins and outs of a problem while communicating a broader narrative that explains what happened and why it happened. It’s a tricky path to navigate. When a communicator is too literal with details, leaders worry that a manager is too reactive and may miss the symptoms of the problem. Without the details, a manager worries about seeming knowledgeable enough to solve the problem.
Content: The most common element missing from supply chain report-outs is context. When there is urgency around a problem, it’s easy to jump right to the solve. But it doesn’t build confidence when leaders hear such a narrow view. We work with supply chain teams to learn how to frame a situation and then offer specific choices around solutions and options. The key learning is leaders trust managers more when they hear a full view of a problem rather than just the tactical steps underway to solve it.
Style: Pressure situations can cause pressured communication. And when that happens, communicators can get “out over their skis,” when they try to answer questions on unresolved elements of a problem. While content may not always be certain, a communicator’s style can be. We help the supply chain team hold their own under pressure and learn to exude confidence in any situation.
Situational: While confidence is an individual skill, there are some added components of a pressured situation where techniques come in handy. Answering tough questions is one of them. Everyone on a management team feels pressured when things are disrupted, and groups are trying to respond to factors that are out of their control. Questions can get pointed, and emotions can run high. We coach teams to adjust questions and keep responses in their sweet spot. And as communicators, they learn to settle emotions and bring a clear, objective view to heated discussions.
For teams, these three steps are the start of a Tailored Program.
For individuals, a combination of Open Programs helps you build your own toolkit.