Sunday, July 14, 2013

Part 1: My Favorite Team

So a year ago, which is another way of saying 'In my last post', I wrote What if this is the last job you ever have? Written at a point in time when I was about 6 weeks into managing a hand-picked team that was the strongest top-to-bottom of my career, and I asked myself the question in the title of the post. How should I conduct myself as a manager so that my legacy was one of which I could be proud?

Short answer: I wanted to be known as a developer of great people and great teams. I wanted people fighting to be on my teams.

That goal was achieved. I had the most outstanding experience of my professional career over the past year, but it was also mixed with moments of sadness, frustration, and even anger. There were times I was so exhausted I had to be sent home by my manager. But through industry and market developments, I found that this wasn't my last job.

I started with 6 team members. By November, one left the company to return to school for her degree in supply chain management. A second team member had expressed a greater career interest in becoming a data analyst and I was able to accommodate him by providing him with opportunities to automate a number of functions, freeing the rest of the team to focus on core activities.

Two other team members made the decision to voluntarily leave the company. Our markets and sales were in contraction and there had been a number of layoffs throughout the year and it was known there were more to come. Even in a tight a job market, however, both were able to land better jobs with a more stable company and left on their own terms.

And the final two are key people in the supply chain organization. They have a much stronger and broader set of skills in procurement and planning than they did a year before, and over many of their internal competitors. Both are in strong positions with a good deal of responsibility.

Along the way, this team coalesced and became a family, but the individuals still felt free to explore and expand their horizons into areas where they had an interest. Additionally, my next goal of attracting top-talent that wanted to work with this team was realized as well, as each person was replaced by other strong individuals who bought into the team mentality. I couldn't have been more proud.

Finally, we achieved the results for which we'd been tasked - much-improved alignment between supply and demand, and significant reductions in inventory investments. So much so, that i can safely say it would NOT have been possible without the exceptional teamwork demonstrated on a day-to-day basis by this team.
Be sure to come back in a couple days for Part 2: I hate the phrase "It is what it is"

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