My supply chain hero is the Average Joe. Who is Average Joe? They are the man or woman in the trenches making a difference. Helping them motivates me as a professional.
As I wrote this post, I reflected. Isn’t it amazing how a positive comment from a mentor can make a difference? This was the case for me. Let me give you two examples. When I hated chemical engineering school, and was going to drop out during my co-op program, the plant manager at my work assignment at P&G, Bob Marsden, chided me, “Is it really that bad Lora? You are stronger than that. Look forward to the future.” On a particularly bad day after my first divorce when nothing seemed to be going well for me as a single parent, my second mentor, Warner Eckman, the plant manager at the Dover, De plant at General Foods, told me, “You are going to have a lot of bad days. Don’t let them derail you.” Both were there for me. Neither knew, at the time, how important their encouragement was to me.
These leaders will never make the front page of the Wall Street Journal or sign the letter to investors in the Corporate Report. They were and are Average Joes.
How people make you feel makes a difference in our lives. It is hard to leave work at work. Our coaches, mentors and friends bring us through the tough times. The harder you push against the odds, expect more bad times, and the need for greater support. In the process, don’t suck it into your gut and put your shoulders back. It will eat you. Instead, develop a support group and talk through issues. As one of few women in an all-male workforce, I asked for too little support. I carried too much anger for many years. Anger drapes around your soul like a lead weight and drags you down.
So, as I thought about this month’s Beet Fusion topic of writing about the supply chain leader I admire, I thought and thought. There are many to admire, but my final answer was the Average Joe. This is the front-line manager that takes the time to coach and mentor, and puts a hand on the employee’s shoulder in a time of need while cracking a joke to disarm when a meeting gets too serious. The Average Joe has an ear when you need it, and listens intently for understanding knowing that you are too fragile to be judged. They have the courage to give you tough love – the kind that gets under your skin and makes you toss and turn to rectify behavior. But, most importantly, they lead supply chain teams everywhere.
Across the supply chain, there are many Average Joes. They make a difference in people’s lives, and I want to make a difference in theirs. When I write, and complete research, my image of the Average Joe is with me. I try to write the research that helps them to be do their job better, and hopefully, if I help them, I will help you.