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  July 5th, 2024 | Written by

Leadership & Company Values in the Service Logistics Industry: It’s Time to Walk the Walk

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Values are often published on company websites and on plaques posted in office lobbies and conference rooms. They can blend in with Mission and Vision statements either on purpose or unintentionally, and some employees may never give them a second glance. However, there are times when these words should be acknowledged and embodied. 

Read also: Innovations in Logistics Management for Faster and More Efficient Global Trade

The behaviors within a company, the actions and conduct, as well as what gets rewarded or celebrated, are where to look for a company’s true values. Do these actions align with the words sited on the boardroom walls? 

If you’re stuck in the workplace described above and during the day occasionally gaze at a posted list of values with a culture that does not represent or resemble it, it’s time to address this gap because your workforce isn’t buying what you’re selling anymore.

Start at the Beginning

First, get a better understanding for how the posted values were determined. Are these the founder’s values, and if so, how have things evolved?

Next, accept the truth regarding what your culture is demonstrating with its values. This is not an exercise in identifying negative or bad behaviors, it is an eyes wide open look at what is valued in your organization and an opportunity to examine if it differs from the desired principles. 

Teamwork as a Strategy

Managers (or bosses) say they want cross-collaboration, but when thick lines are drawn around each department, those actions don’t promote teamwork. When recognition or fun events are only within specific departments, that doesn’t demonstrate teamwork. Worse yet, when more time is spent trying to determine who messed something up instead of identifying the issue and then working together to get it resolved, it is difficult to feel like everyone is working towards the same plan of action. 

Since the service logistics industry is dynamic, fast-paced, and action-oriented, it requires many teams (and systems or platforms) to work together spontaneously. An ad hoc approach built around isolated users who can only influence change within their department or region is a recipe for disaster. Meaningful collaboration and fruitful teamwork require trust, and trust involves an acknowledgement that everyone is working towards the same identified goals.

Elevate Internal Growth Opportunities

Whenever humanly possible, service logistics leaders need to create more opportunities for career growth and development by actively promoting from within. It also helps to establish and apply informal learning environments with themed breaktimes to encourage engagement among teams, incorporate leadership and communication training in cross-functional jobs and to support safe spaces at work, and provide better access to resources so every employee has what they need to effectively do their work. 

Additionally, companies (OR managers) can help shape formal recognition programs to specifically celebrate departmental or working group wins instead of individualized heroics. To advance the lasting impression of a true collaborative environment within your organization, consider training in value-stream mapping and true process root-cause analysis. The latter will eliminate the by-product of ‘who did it’ and instead focus on an understanding of what happened to prevent it from occurring in the future.  

Embrace Change and Challenges 

Embolden your departments and senior level working groups to challenge the status quo and keep bringing new ideas into the organization’s fold. This can be realized in an environment of psychological safety, where mistakes aren’t punished, and new growth is encouraged and celebrated. 

If there’s one certainty within your service supply chain (or business operations), is that change is and will always be constant. Armed with that knowledge, it’s vital for companies to implement processes focused on creating efficiencies and adopt evolving technology to enhance organizational visibility and augment acclaim. Executives must lay the groundwork and recognize innovative companywide ideas and participate in cross-functional discussions that include varying opinions, with the possibility to create and implement something modern.

Stay Focused in a Fast-Paced Environment 

Like all companies, there may be struggles with what to give attention to, especially in the supply chain industry – where everything is urgent. When staying the course requires a daily and concerted effort, consistent communication about what and why decisions are being made is pivotal. This is done to ensure that an organization is on the right path today, and on track to achieve future goals as well. 

Create Fun Within the Workplace

A fast-paced service logistics environment can be a lot to manage, and it’s important to offer the ability refuel, recharge, and regain perspective to be able to focus on the future. True fun with your work team requires a trusting environment and requires leaders at all levels to be ON the team, not above the team. Successful leaders make time to listen, hear others and allow themselves to be human like everyone else. The deeper the trust, the greater the collective team will be. From there, synergy and enjoyment among colleagues will show up more often throughout the workday. 

Model the Change You Seek 

Having ambitious standards and the humility to realize any misalignments brings leaders one step closer to demonstrating and living up to your company’s core values. Now is the perfect time to take the leap and establish a plan to address it. As senior leaders, you are entrusted to walk the walk, because doing so is much more effective to live your company’s values than securing a decorative plaque on a wall.

About Kris Michels 

Kris Michel joined Flash in 2019 as Chief Operating Officer to oversee Flash Global’s operations and lead major business initiatives. With a consistent track record for driving organizational revenue acceleration and EBITDA growth, her career has spanned several high-profile roles from Fortune 100 to turnaround mid-sized companies. In every role she has held – from CFO to COO – Kris has a keen instinct for leading teams to implement and execute effective programs and solutions, coupled with her entrepreneurial spirit and global business perspective.