Tag Archive: diversity

The Value of Diversity

July 5th, 2020

Diversity has always been core to success. Are you gaining different viewpoints? It has certainly been proven that deliberately bringing diverse viewpoints into projects and teams will lead to greater levels of success. Men will have different perspectives than women. People with different nationalities and backgrounds will bring different viewpoints into the mix. People of different ages will have differing priorities and opinions. Are you bringing diversity into the conversation?

I can definitely tell you it isn’t as easy as it sounds. I didn’t even realize I was the only woman (and also the youngest person) attending the Board of Directors meetings when I was VP of Product Supply until one of my team members brought it to my attention. You’d think it would be hard for me to miss! I also remember a time during my consulting career when I really enjoyed participating in a group. We had a good working relationship and were quite successful. A potential new member came onto the scene. My first thought was “NO!”; however, I agreed, and she turned out to add great diversity, and the group was better for it. Good thing I ignored my inner voice!

One Tip to Implement This Week:

Simply pay attention for opportunities to insert diversity into your projects, events etc. You’ll be surprised by what you miss while focusing on the task at hand. Again, during my career with APICS Inland Empire Chapter (Association for Supply Chain Management), I missed the lack of diversity on our panel. Our audience noticed and commented in our survey. In this case, it was an all male panel. Our chapter has held 15 executive panel and networking symposium events, and this panel was the ONLY panel without a woman. Of course, over time, we have improved upon this metric in addition to male/female (although that can sometimes be tough on its own!) with panelists from multiple countries, backgrounds, age groups, work backgrounds (in addition to manufacturing and distribution, we’ve added healthcare, technology and more), etc.
Start by simply paying attention and giving a diverse group a chance. Be open to the idea, and you might just gain significant value.
Stay safe & healthy.


What’s Ahead for People?

January 23rd, 2019

People make a business thrive. That’s why even the most technical of companies like Google value people.  In our experience, people are the #1 asset of any organization. Hands down, we can help any organization with good people quicker and to a FAR larger degree than an organization with very few good people.

In thinking about what’s ahead for people, there are many transitions and trends to be aware of:

 

  1. Baby Boomers  – As baby boomers retire, they will be harder to replace than what appears at first glance. Typically speaking, they aren’t up-to-speed on the latest technology.  They might have old fashioned ideas but they know “what works”. Don’t be too quick to hurry the process along. Instead, value their knowledge and find a way to transition it for a win-win.
  2. The Skills Gap – It is hard not to have a skills gap when technologies change daily. Jobs are being automated and new jobs are being created with entirely new skill requirements. The world is becoming more complex and global and customers expect more for less. Are you prioritizing the retention of your top talent? Is your company attractive to top talent?
  3. Diversity– We are not believers in mandates and regulations but we have found diversity to propel success. Are you actively attracting people who do NOT think like you? That’s a tough one (after all, don’t we all prefer people who agree with us?), but it is important if you want your team and organization to thrive.
  4. Spark an Innovative Culture – With the high demands of customers, bard members and the like, solid leadership is no longer enough. Sparking innovation has become a “must” for success.
  5. Back to the Leadership Basics – There is no coincidence that every successful client has a strong leader. Whereas long-term struggling clients and contacts (as struggling leaders rarely hire consultants) have weak leaders. Being a strong leader is “hard work” and requires courage. What are you doing to build your leadership bench strength?

The core tenets of successful people do not change. The requirements and challenges we face continue to expand. Yet, the route to success is clear. We choose to see this fact with hope as it does not require rocket science to become a good leader.  We’ve seen plenty of examples of mediocre leaders who transform into exceptional leaders through mentoring, coaching and experience.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic:

Profit Through People 

Global Consultants and the Value of Diversity 

Do You See Your People as Assets or Expenses?

 



The Resilient Supply Chain: Cross-Organizational Collaboration

January 4th, 2019

I’ve been coordinating a process involving several disparate players, ranging from multiple educational institutions who are not aligned with one another, government players (with many differing goals) and business partners (with a completely different set of needs).  Although there are others, these 3 core groups are more than enough!

Success will only come to those who find common ground with collaboration.  If collaboration was as easy as simple communication, everyone would do it. We would probably have a lot more happy customers and more profits to share with investors, employees and for reinvestment and giving back.

What should we think about if this is the outcome we wish to create?

  1.  Look for the win-win-win –  If someone wins and someone else loses, it isn’t a successful collaboration.  If you think hard enough, there is usually a way to turn a situation into more of a win-win-win with some shared give-and-take.
  2.  Think about positioning –  If your idea is presented in isolation, it has a much greater chance at failing than if it is presented in light of the bigger picture. Why is it important?  How can each person play a role? Does each person know how he/she fits in and provides value?
  3.  Value diversity – Each time I think “I don’t want to be on this person’s team because he/she is annoying or won’t add value”, I find that I am completely wrong (luckily these are just thoughts, not actions).  The best ideas come from the most unlikely places.  And, interesting suggestions that can lead to “big” ideas typically come from someone who is quite opposite and thinking about the situation from a different perspective.
  4.  Recognize progress of the team –  Who doesn’t want to be recognized with a pat on the back as progress is made?  The key to collaboration is not to say positive things about collaboration and then reward individual performance.  Instead, reward team progress, even if that progress is simply gaining an understanding of how much they do not agree with each other yet are willing to listen.  
  5.  Consensus isn’t needed – As much as collaboration can achieve dramatically better results than each superhero individual thinking on his/her own, consensus is overrated.  Set the expectations upfront of how collaboration works. Feedback and input is expected. Discussion and debate participation is mandatory. But consensus isn’t required for every decision.  Otherwise, you might get there eventually but your competition will be LONG gone. More importantly, determine how to collaborate and make decisions upfront.decisions

The importance of collaboration comes up more frequently than almost any other topic.  Since executives are collaborating with customers, suppliers, trusted advisors, other supply chain partners and even competitors, there is just no room for poor collaborators.  

If you’ll notice, many disruptors collaborate with strange partners. Perhaps this core skill is a key ingredient to success…. Or, think of it another way, how will anything get done without it?

 



Do You Give Back?

September 27th, 2018

We are all so busy that it can be hard to find time to give back.  Yet, the future of our profession, future leaders and our region is at stake.  Making this a priority during your day may not be as difficult as you think.

Choose a way that works for you.
Some people prefer to donate time.  Others prefer to donate money. And others donate expertise.

 I started this journey because one of my colleagues, Ellen Kane, who has to be one of the most helpful people I know (and therefore there is no way to say no to such a wonderful person) asked me to participate with the first APICS Western region student case competition (with just a hand full of students from three colleges).  Fast-forward 10+ years….  We led the competitions together with over 100 students from universities around the globe (from the western region of the U.S. to Canada to China and beyond).

To give an idea of the types of activities you might get involved with in your profession, community or with future leaders, here are the giving back priorities of LMA Consulting:  

1) Manufacturing/ Supply Chain Community

2) Southern CA Community  

3) Students and the future of the profession

  

 

 

 

 

Within these categories, here are some of the examples of our activities.  Hopefully they will prompt ideas for you:

  1. IEEP (Inland Empire Economic Partnership) and IEGO (Inland Economic Growth & Opportunity):  We focus on advancing supply chain and advanced manufacturing in Inland Southern California to contribute to the economy of the area.
  2. MCIE (Manufacturing Council of the Inland Empire):  Certainly this group also has a focus on manufacturing in Inland Southern California to contribute to the economy of the area.  For MCIE, we lead the Innovation Awards and partner and recognize manufacturing in the region.
  3. APICS Inland Empire & Universities/ Colleges in the I.E.: APICS is the leading trade association for supply chain and operations professionals.  Our goal is to provide value to manufacturers and distributors in the area as well as to students/future leaders (Harvey Mudd, Cal Poly Pomona, CSUSB, UCR, University of LaVerne, Drucker & Norco College).  
  4.  Student internships & mentoring (Pomona College & the Drucker School): We also partner with students at Pomona College to provide internships in research and business topics and with students at the Drucker School to mentor women in supply chain.  
  5. University of LaVerne Board of Advisors:  As part of this role, our goal is to advise the business school, participate with the CEO Summit and contribute to the committee focused on advancing women in the business school.

One of the best pieces of advice we’ve received is to start small.  You can make a difference by giving back in a small way and expand where it makes sense for you.  There are no competitions when it comes to giving back. Do it in a way that makes sense to you. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.  Also, you might have completely different interests. For example, my business partner in the Society for the Advancement of Consulting contributes by volunteering for an association that focuses on diabetes.  I have colleagues who give back by taking care of aging parents.  

No matter your interests, it is likely to give you a bit of diversity in your life.



Holiday Parties & Diversity

December 13th, 2017

I participated with several holiday parties recently – and have a few more planned.  That is a nice benefit of leading and participating in so many groups.  The pictures below are from my APICS Inland Empire chapter holiday mixer and member appreciation event.  Thanks to Susan Brunasso for pictures!  What strikes me is the diversity of our APICS group – we range from students, supply chain professionals (such as planners, buyers, operations managers), executives/ business owners (thanks to Dan & C.C. Vest, Don Brithinee, Brian Reed, Kar Shanmugam and more for their great support), trusted advisors to manufacturers and distributors, sponsors (thanks Maggie Watson), Board members and more.  

Clearly our women are above (looking festive I might add) and our men below (although Susan always inserts me into the photos too).

And our UCR students (mainly) are below since our CSUSB student is featured above with the men.

One tip to implement this week:
Have you thought about the diversity of your employees, work groups, trade associations and more?  

There are many ways to think about diversity.  In terms of APICS, I was talking about the wide variety of roles and responsibilities that rallied around increasing value for manufacturers and distributors (although because Susan took photos of different groups, I unintentionally also spoke to gender).  

We gain value from diverse perspectives, ranging from the fresh ideas (often provided by students) to “what works” to the latest technologies.  I didn’t even mention that we have some technology experts on our Board as well!

I find that creating diversity doesn’t require rules and regulations.  In fact, forced diversity can harm organizations! Instead, valuing different ideas, solutions, points-of-view and more creates the environment for diversity. Undoubtedly, we achieve a FAR greater value for our members with a more complete view.  We definitely shoot to make 1+1+1 = 33, and our diverse group of experts achieves this objective.  

Are you valuing fresh perspectives (even if not in line with your own)?