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Mastering Performance Management: Supply Chain Leadership Series Ep 14

By Published On: December 7, 2023

Listen to this Episode!

Host: Chris Gaffney

Co-Hosts: Mike Ogle and Rodney Apple

In this Episode:

The 14th episode of our Supply Chain Careers Leadership Podcast!

Explore the intricacies of performance management and the art of leading effective employee discussions. This episode delves into the challenges and opportunities of guiding teams, with a focus on fostering growth and managing performance. Real-world experiences and expert advice make this a must-listen for aspiring leaders and those looking to refine their leadership skills. Discover the impact of early intervention, the balance of coaching and feedback, and strategies for addressing performance issues. Tune in for invaluable insights on navigating the complexities of leadership and performance management.

What is the Supply Chain Careers Leadership Series?

The Supply Chain Careers Leadership series expands its previous content format into a more in-depth focus on leadership development. This program is a series of 10+ episodes that are hosted by our very own supply chain executive, Chris Gaffney. These episodes explore subject matter and topics that relate to excelling as a leader in the business world, much of which Chris has gleaned as VP of Supply Chain at Coca-Cola. Familiar faces and fellow supply chain leaders, Rodney Apple and Mike Ogle chime in with their experience and knowledge, all of which can be used by supply chain leaders to develop and advance their careers.

[00:01:00] Rodney Apple: Welcome back to the supply chain careers podcast.

This is the leadership series featuring your host, Chris Gaffney. I’m Rodney Apple here along with Mike Ogle. We’ll serve as your cohost on today’s episode. We’ll cover performance management, having effective employee discussions. Before we get started, just a reminder, our first 10 episodes focused on leading yourself as very challenging to become a leader of others until you get really good at leading yourself.

So we encourage you to go back in and take a look at those episodes. You can find them at scmtalent. com and you can look under podcast.

[00:01:42] Mike Ogle: All right. Chris, how does this episode on performance management fit into our leadership series at this point?

[00:01:48] Chris Gaffney: This is a good 1 and a follow on to our recent episodes for those who aspire to lead others. And then those who actually get that first leadership role. You’re very excited when you know you get that big milestone.

That’s a big, first large milestone in the professional world. But once you then have a team of folks that you’re accountable for. That can be where the first challenge comes in where the bloom can come off the rose because it’s not all rosy and there’s no team of people who are perfect. In reality, everyone on your team will have both performance expectations and development needs.

So this episode, is about how I grow as a leader. I also think it’s about differentiators because effective performance management is huge. Managing the performance others is a key skill for those who lead others and then getting results through other others is critical. And if you can then figure out how to coach those you lead and help them grow, it’s both personally gratifying and it really can improve the performance of a team.

And I think it’s a big career accelerator for a people leader. In most cases, A new leader comes on the scene, in the middle of the movie to an existing team. They don’t have that opportunity to start fresh and establish initial objectives with all their team members.

They may not have a sense of the capabilities of the folks they are literally having to assess as they go. Inevitably, a new leader is going to have a challenging Performance conversation, or some kind of feedback conversation to have pretty early on in their tenure. That’s just a fact.

My hope is that’s what we’ll dig into in this case. And I really am reminded of my 1st leadership experience. And I was actually with Frito Lay. And I moved my family to Orlando to take on a position leading professionals. And I think I’ve referred in some of our other series. I had led drivers before, but I think, in all honesty, most drivers don’t have a performance and development plan.

And those warehouse workers, in fact, the workers don’t either. Really managing professional employees, that was the 1st setting and I did come in the middle of the movie and I had an admin who I was accountable for. And I had a couple of supervisors and 2 of those 3 employees, I had to have pretty challenging performance discussions within my 1st, few months.

And 1 was, someone who was very close to being managed out of the organization. And my recollection of that experience. A, I was probably not well prepared for it, and B, I came to grips with the fact that this was not a theoretical exercise when you were potentially going to impact someone’s livelihood.

So I really would have loved to have had Access to the right kind of tools to prepare me to do a better job of that conversation. And that’s 1 of the things that I kept in my mind as I went on is I’m not going to let that happen again. I need the right tools. I need access to the right infrastructure.

I want to do a good job here myself, but I really have an obligation to do right by the employee in the organization. So that’s my frame up. Why I think this is an important topic.

Given that, what are your reflections on this topic from your own experience that you want to bring into this discussion today?


[00:05:28] Mike Ogle: For me, Chris, this brings up some memories that sometimes why it’s called the uncomfortable kind of conversation or the difficult conversation because few people enjoy performance reviews and difficult conversations. But, of course, they’re necessary to get focused or some cases refocused on results.

So I’ve been there myself on both sides. I’ve had those conversations with people I’ve managed. I’ve been on the receiving end as well. And I got to say, when I was on the receiving end, it was because I was interested in and probably committed to too many things and allowed, the things that I wanted to chase and do kept getting in the way of the some of the commitments that needed to be done and providing feedback to my customers.

Trying to get an idea on where we stood on those kinds of commitments, probably too many balls in the air and really not a great process for how to keep track of them. So it took a few conversations to get focused again, and get back on the right track. But it is a reality check that when it’s done it can really make everyone feel so much more in control rather than the feeling of the maybe the slowly developing train wreck.

When I’ve had to have that difficult conversation with those that who have reported to me, it’s tended to be similar to my own experience. Some kind of results aren’t happening. Balls are being dropped. Maybe focus is lost on some small or large projects. And my tendency early on in any position that I’ve been in as a manager, as a director, as a VP, was to be probably two hands off.

Not providing clear expectations of results, timing of deliverables, the things that they need to report on. But my biggest issue was probably letting things get to the point where the conversation turned into a difficult conversation, probably because I was avoiding it, letting it build up to a point where it was more like an intervention.

And that isn’t good for anybody really on either side of the table. So it took me way too long to get to the point where I understood it was really fundamental. how to lead by helping people help themselves stay on track while also providing them with some flexibility to pursue results. I see that it’s an art, but it takes some careful attention and is really a balancing act of when to step in and ask the right questions.

So I don’t think I truly understood that until I started my last industry position and it made it so much more enjoyable . So I hope this leadership podcast keeps a lot of people from making similar mistakes.

[00:07:58] Rodney Apple: Good stuff, Mike. From my vantage point and in our world of executive search and recruitment, it’s sales. So you have to be an effective communicator. You have to be able to have challenging conversations strong customer. Service orientation skills and going back to an employee that I had and this, this was a challenging conversation because the person was very successful.

But 1 thing that was getting in the way of his progress was his communication skills in particular with making. cOmmon mistakes, but it was just a recurring thing with the verbal communication side. And for example having to have that conversation you’re, you need to find a way to course, correct this.

And so I introduced that to him on a 1 on 1 and. With the top performer that could be challenging to hear that. I’m not doing something. And let him know that’s going to get in the way of your progression. And having that self awareness is 1 thing. And so I told him, you need to be aware of this.

It’s easy to get caught up in a conversation and you don’t even know you’re making these mistakes. But when you’re on the phone with executives, and that’s a lot of what we do you need to convey that you have good communication. You have the confidence and you can be trusted.

So we introduced a tool where we were recording his conversations. During my calls with him on client calls, I would just keep count of the time that he either said or just some kind of filler words. It wasn’t always and that self awareness and then keeping track and then slowly going from maybe 15, 20 times during a conversation to 1 or 2 that entire pattern has now vanished.

It’s rare that I ever catch this individual making that same mistake. That’s 1 of my stories. What lessons have we learn from the experts that we’ve had on some of our past podcast as it relates to this topic performance management and having effective employee discussions.

[00:10:03] Chris Gaffney: I’ll give a plug to our 50th. If you haven’t listened to it, one of the things we did in prepping that episode was actually go back and look at the physical transcripts of all those podcasts.

And we did some keyword searching. And I think, there were a couple things that I took away from that. That definitely serve as expert as advice. 1 that was clear, and I think it’s already come up in Mike’s comment is that early is better. These conversations don’t go well when something gets off track.

The further it gets off, and the longer it’s been, you have a high probability of just surprising an employee, because they will say, I haven’t heard anything. I had no reason to assume that I wasn’t doing what was expected of me. So no news is good news. And then you’re, you’ve got a huge divergence instead of something that’s very minor.

So I think that early is better, I think, is A key message we heard from a lot of people. So that’s 1. 1 that I think is thematic to something that I heard from probably the best leader that I ever had was the theory of tough minded people leadership. And that was really that it’s always in the best interest of an employee in the organization to make sure that people have a very clear understanding of what they’re doing well, and where they can improve.

It’s a fact. That essentially, everyone has got something in both sides of those that those camps and in that leader who had the greatest respect for and is a personal friend had no problem saying, Chris, you’re really not getting out of the park here. But let me be clear in these 2 areas. That are not necessarily important for this job.

If you don’t address these, they’re going to limit your future potential. And I think we should talk about them and those can be painful. As we said, getting that tough feedback is important, but I viewed that person cared about me. So that paradox of tough minded people leadership.

I really understood that person was always going to be in my corner, even if it was something I needed to work on that. I didn’t really want to hear about. So those are 2 things. I think the 3rd 1 is getting the basics. If you’ve got the process in place to set expectations to have periodic conversations that are on the calendar, and you don’t you say, oh, wow, it’s been 90 days since we talked to somebody.

It may seem mundane. It may seem very corporate to say, we’re going to check in once a month. We have something documented. The conversation will be documented. But if you do those basics, right? Both the manager and the employer better off because you can go back and say, in our last conversation. We said you were going to work on this.

How is that gone? You’re not trying to free form. Remember that neither party is well positioned to do that. Another 1 and I heard this very recently in 1 of the startups I work with and they were like, we don’t have the time to do this and or managers will make that cases. I debunk that time paradigm because over the long horizon, a year, if you don’t invest the small amount of time here, you’re going to end up spending at least the same amount of time with an employee who’s not performing because you’re going to have to compensate for them. And you’re going to have to intervene and if you have to make a change, you’ve got this whole extra investment in, rehiring retraining.

And so big company or small, there’s always enough time to do this. If it’s well spent. And I think the last thing that I think is important is performance and development go together and if you’re setting expectations at the beginning of the year, hey, we have a business plan. Here’s your role in it.

Here are the top 3 things that we’re going to make big bets on, and get discretionary effort. Here are the smaller rocks that we want to fill in with. There needs to be a very quickly correlated discussion to say, let’s be clear. Last year, we worked on this. We solve the problem this year we’re going to go and work on something that’s next on your development plan. Let’s have that refresh discussion, either from something that was on the pipeline, or let’s go back and forth and say, what else as we heard from mentors and peers and what are 1 or 2 things we’re going to work to grow on. I think our experts are pretty smart.

But so I think these are the kind of things that I would say are backed up by the people that we’ve talked to in our series.

[00:14:29] Mike Ogle: Good. Thanks, Chris. I particularly like that idea about the debunking the time issue. That is one of those that if you’re not going to make the investment, then why are you making any other investments in your company? They go hand in hand for the future.

So we had some of the experience from our podcast guests. What have you seen from some of the academic research that’s out there about effective performance management in


[00:14:56] Chris Gaffney: I suspect that some of our podcasts have had some formal training because some of the things that they mentioned show up in the performance in the formal kind of, HR curriculum that’s taught at HR school, as I used to say, I think the 1st thing is that effective performance management is a cycle and in typical, business world, it’s an annual cycle of some form connected to a business planning process. It is a virtuous circle with that front end of the year being about setting those expectations. Having, a understanding that there will be coaching and feedback that is scheduled there.

There will be means of feedback that are provided both to the employee and the manager. There will be some aspect of training and development. We had our training and development podcast that should be 70 percent on the job, 20 percent mentoring and coaching and 10 percent formal training. So it’s not about being in the classroom.

And over the course of that annual view, classic, like a game, there’s a halftime review. Ideally, you’re doing something middle of the year. So that there’s some degree of. Stopping. Is there a significant course correction that’s needed? And at the back end of the year, there’s some aspect of formality to appraisal because in big companies are small, their employees who expect that their compensation will be reviewed annually.

So that’s a pretty classic. Cycle that’s out there and I would just highlight a few things that are really important in that. Again, we hope that this series is a resource for folks who don’t necessarily have a large company, huge infrastructure for all these tools. But when we talk about, setting, clear, detailed goals and performance expectations, we are still talking in this day and age about smart objectives, specific, measurable, achievable results oriented.

They are time bound, something we’re going to get done in some, measured way over the course of this year. And there’s some stretch in that. It’s not all a layup. So that’s pride and true, but that still matters. And I think it’s also important, as I said before, that there’s a distinction.

There’s a bit of a stratification there. There’s 2 or 3 that are make or break that get discretionary effort. There may be a few more that get fill in the blanks, but that’s a clear understanding. There’s 2 or 3 that are going to win the year. That coaching is a fact all employees will need coaching.

Ronaldo still gets coaching or messy in this day and age. If you’re a soccer fan, even though the person is the pinnacle in the world, there’s still coaching that’s involved. There’s an obligation for leaders to monitor and observe employees performance Rodney mentioned example, where you’re recording somebody in the day of zoom or whatever, having honest feedback to say, hey, we watched you perform.

This is what we saw. It’s not theoretical. That observation. I think is important and timely feedback. You can’t come in November of the year and tell somebody, they missed the boat and I’m like I haven’t talked to you since February. That’s not credible. It’s both unfair to an employee and that can place the manager in real jeopardy if they haven’t done that.

And then, I think, we talked about setting development plans with performance plans. You’ve got to devote time on that. Where are we creating the time and space setting an employee up that if it is 70 percent on the job, they’ve got the window to be able to exercise that.

And then if something’s off track, you’ve got to call the flag and say, it’s off track quickly as we talked about. And then most important is give some recognition. I think in the recent surveys, I’m hearing a lot of employees say, post pandemic, the small recognition is lacking. And so it’s okay to just say, hey, that was a great meeting today.

Okay. You’re always going to say, wow, you had 32 ums coming in the meeting, but when it goes well, don’t forget to say, we really had a productive week this week. You said there were three things you were going to get done and I saw them all get done. So just go home feeling good about the week and we’ll set it again next week.

That means so much to folks. So I think those basics are really important. I think the other thing that’s really important to me is the concept of situational leadership. That’s out there is employees are in a different place, depending on where they are in their maturity in a role. And so there’s always this idea and there’s science around it that an employee may have 4 or 5 objectives and their situational ability to succeed in those may not be the same. And so that situational leadership theory kind of creates 4 quadrants and it really gets a sense of, on a 2 by 2, the employees competence. And their commitment or confidence in doing those things in each of those quadrants, the employee needs a different level of support.

And I think it’s a gold star for managers employees. And this is how you connect performance and development at the beginning of the year is to have a conscious view of saying in this area, I’m going to let you run. You are very good at this and you do not have any confidence issues. We’re just going to check in very infrequently on this, but this is a new area and it’s a new area for you and you have not yet had to experience that.

I’m going to be closer in with you on this to be supportive of you until you gain some confidence and demonstrate some competence. I think that model. It’s really a critical kind of differentiator for a manager in this space.

[00:20:50] Rodney Apple: Good stuff, Chris. Agree with everything you’ve said there. Coaching and feedback, we realize that’s a critical aspect of the performance management process and cycle. Can you explain to our audience the difference, coaching versus feedback?

[00:21:05] Chris Gaffney: Yeah I think there are a couple simple things that we can divide the line.

They both have a role. Coaching is primarily focused on past behavior. It is initiated to share knowledge. It is pretty much a 1 way communication channel and it is intended to support development. So that’s. Coaching and the role of coaching. Feedback is intended to target future behavior. It is given to boost performance.

I think it’s important that it’s a two way communication channel. There’s intent to have, hey, I saw this and the employees say, hey here’s what was going on. So what you saw may not be exactly what you think kind of thing. But it is more evaluative in nature. So that’s a simple way to make the distinction between both of those things.

And they have a role but the reality is in the performance management side of it, you’re going to be dealing more in the feedback world and in the development side, you’re probably going to be dealing a little bit more in the coaching if I want to oversimplify that. And I think as we get into this, there are also some kind of tried and true rules for effective feedback.

Okay. So I think the 1st thing is, you’ve got to plan for that. You don’t walk in cold to that discussion. If you’re a manager, or you will find yourself ill prepared. So you’ve got to have some notes that are based on interactions that you’ve seen and in many cases, things that more likely will have been seen repetitively that justify coming back to an employee.

Okay. In a feedback mode, you don’t do this ad hoc. It’s part of a structured session, right? You don’t just get somebody after lunch at the end of the day, or right after the meeting, have it be a measured thing. I think it’s important for the manager again to set the tone. That it’s always about, Hey, I’m ultimately interested in your overall development, but part of that is, giving you feedback on your performance and things that are going well and things that need to improve.

I do think you have to be very specific. You cannot be conceptual with employees, particularly when you’re giving them feedback for improvement, right? Great job. You can be more conceptual. They do want to know that it was on this client or this project ideally, but when you’re dealing with things for improvement, they’re going to say, when did you see that?

What was going on and did you see that more than once? They’re never going to be comfortable. If you said, I saw you 1 time and you’ll say, but you didn’t see me doing it a different way. 99 times. Ideally, you’ve got to have a bit of a trend back to what we said about feedback is you’ve got to give the employee time.

To provide feedback, and I think you as a manager have to reserve the right to get smarter and say, there’s something when I walked in here that I didn’t think about. Okay, so that’s a tough bar for managers, but I think it’s important. I think the manager can offer guidance and recommendations.

Here are my thoughts on how we can improve that and let’s plan for that. And give action against that. I think those type of things are important. I do think it’s good to end positive and I do think it’s good to take notes and summarize that conversation. You and the employee have clear expectations walking out, but you’ve also got it documented in case there’s a, it progresses.

[00:24:26] Mike Ogle: Chris, those are some great basics about getting into those kinds of discussions. But, when I think about the challenging aspect, especially from some of the personal experience I was sharing before, how do you suggest that we get a little bit deeper into how to approach that and some of the points that you need to address?

[00:24:44] Chris Gaffney: Yeah I think there are a couple of things when, it is a challenging discussion that is moving into having an impact on employees performance. I think there are a couple of things that are, musts for me and I’ll begin with the end in mind. If this is going to be something that the employee is likely not going to be thrilled with and likely to not fully embrace, there’s a high probability of that.

I want to be aligned with my boss on this to say, Hey, I’m going through my next round of discussions. I’ve had somebody who’s trended. We’ve talked about some things, but it’s not going in the right direction. I’ve got to up the message and make it very clear that this person’s off track, get them to align to that and then get to action.

I want my boss to be comfortable with that. Be aware of it and maybe weigh into it, weigh in on it. And if I have access to a human resources professional who supports my team, I want to game plan that conversation with them so they feel comfortable that I’ve got all the basics in place and that the approach that I’m going to take makes sense.

So I think that to me, use the resources you have to plan through that. I think that’s important. I would say these type of conversations have a high probability to get emotional. frOm an employee perspective, but particularly young managers can be scared to death in advance of these conversations.

So I think you’ve got to really plan to check and manage your own emotion and in most cases, if an employee escalates, your tendency as a manager has got to be to deescalate and not, go 1 for 1 with them because that’s you’re not going to get the outcome you want. So I think that’s important. I think it’s important to get to the place where the employee can own the plan.

I ultimately believe real development occurs when someone owns it. And they said, this is not someone telling me. I need to do this. I have heard it in a way and from enough dimensions that I realized I have this gap and I have to work on that. That may be hard if it’s the 1st discussion, but that should be your aspiration. So I think those things are the real distinctions for me. When I think about those conversations now, I will then also, as we do in a lot of these say now, here’s what the experts say. So I’ve got something that I grabbed from Harvard business review that I think is important when you get to the essence of these.

I think. 1st things 1st is to prioritize building trust and we’ve said this in different ways, but I think, a you’ve got to signal to the employee that you really are doing this because you care about them. And that you have their self interest at heart. Okay. There’s no way someone’s going to receive challenging feedback from you if they don’t trust that you’re in their corner.

So that’s something you really need to invest in over time. But I think it’s important to be intentional about how you convey that, particularly in these type of conversations, which again suggests that you’ve got a plan. Yeah. For them. I think you’ve also got to consider that the conversation is going to be in pieces, right?

You are going to be referring either to an example where you saw somebody perform the off track, or you’ve seen multiple examples of it. So you’re going to articulate. What you saw that employee and you are going to talk about how both of you feel about that situation, whether they agree or disagree in that.

But feelings are going to come into that. And I think, you need to understand that’s a humbling conversation, whether that person is a high performer. It’s the 1st time they’ve ever had it, or whether somebody it’s on the ropes and they’re like, oh, no, I’m on the ropes again. It can get to somebody’s identity in essence.

And I think really being sensitive about that reality it’s an existential kind of thing for people when they really are brought to grips to say something that they have a challenge with has now come to impact their job and their performance. I think that’s a very sensitive things are being thoughtful about that.

I think being a good active listener, you can come in here to that conversation and say, I have a message to deliver and I’m all gas and no break. And I think that’s really hard because that employee is going to be reacting both verbally and non verbally. I think it goes without saying is that these conversations ideally are done in person and in a zoom world.

You have to be super careful about a conversation like this. I think that’s really important. But then you’ve got to that active listening beyond being aware. You’ve got to say, here’s what I’ve I’m seeing and hearing. By the same token, you can ask them, let me know what you’re hearing from me so that they have not shut down and you check them for understanding.

Are they still absorbing what you’re trying to bring to them, which is likely to be something that’s a lot for them. It also says to me is sometimes these conversations have to take multiple. Cracks at the bat because it’s a lot. So I think that’s important. We said it before the experts said this is you have to be as specific as possible as much as you can to have prepared this so that, you are as granule as possible even practicing for a really different conversation is important when choosing those examples use recent ones, but say, this is also come up in these other things.

And if somebody wants to go there, you can. But then when you get to, so what are we doing about it? Then you’ve got to work together to say, what actions can we jointly take? You do want the employee to own them, but the manager’s got to be there with them to get to a set of steps that somebody can act on very quickly and that you can come back to and check progress on 2 weeks, no more than 4 weeks.

And then on a repetitive basis, that may be 6090 days for someone to dig out of it. Those. Steps when I looked at that article, it’s that’s the best of what I’ve seen in the teaching that I’ve received in formal things. And in all honesty, after doing this for 30 years, the few that went really well were because this kind of thought and planning went into that conversation. And I always, ultimately said late in career managing people that I truly cared about them as an individual. If you care about somebody as an individual, that will come through and ultimately their performance, your organizational success will ultimately likely have a higher chance of coming out on.

[00:31:24] Rodney Apple: So Chris, this is wonderful. One thing that we haven’t addressed is you’ve taken an employee through this cycle. But let’s say it’s still not working out. There could be a potential exit involved. But let’s hypothetically say that’s where it’s going. What would be your recommendation?

As the path forward towards that exit, or maybe call it a last ditch effort.

[00:31:50] Chris Gaffney: Yeah, again, I think what the science would say, and what the formality would say is. iF you’ve done this right, you’re addressing an issue relatively early, and you’re able to say, we’re a quarter of the way through the year at the beginning of the year.

This was a developmental area. And I haven’t yet seen progress there, and I’ve actually seen continued challenges. So I want to raise that to your attention and let’s agree in the next 60 to 90 days what happens. If you’re at mid year and that stuff is there and either the employee is a demonstrating effort or they’re really struggling, then I think you’re engaging your HR resource.

And if it’s a smaller company, you’re talking to a boss or whatever, and you come into that follow up conversation with a formality to it to say, I’m moving from performance feedback to saying this is a structured, first warning. And what I want you to understand is the next 60 days is really important.

You have got to demonstrate and own. I’m going to give you more space to work on this, but you have now got to demonstrate that I want to hear from you. Is there anything else you need to be able to Act on this. Are you clear that this is a problem? Get that acknowledgement. And if it goes 60 days beyond that, in most large companies, then it would be into a formal performance improvement plan.

That is 60 to 90 days ideal state. Extremely well documented by weekly in some cases, even weekly check ins, likely H. R. supervised. And again, with that last, effort to say, to be clear, we’re doing this because we want you to address this, but do understand at the end of this 90 day period.

That you are in a situation where if that hasn’t been demonstrated, the actions may get to a place where it could include separation from the company. I think that is the classic progressive feedback kind of process.

[00:33:47] Mike Ogle: Chris, before we end up closing out today, how about the importance of some kind of follow on positive conversation about how they actually did make the course correction and they improved results.

[00:34:00] Chris Gaffney: Yeah, Mike, I think about a guy who worked for me, Tom, I won’t say Tom’s last name and Tom got to that last step. And, he was a capable guy, but I think he had a bit of a motivation challenge. And when we got to that final step, it was like, hey, you’ve been here a long time. You have a lot of domain knowledge.

But the light bulb has not been on and I need you to understand that you’re now at this step. And he was like, whoa I do want to do well. And I watched him, really take that and own that. And as a manager, that’s what you ideally want. And you want someone to finally say, whoa, this is real.

It’s within my capability and or if it’s not, I’m willing to take on whatever, resources are available to help me build to an acceptable level of capability. Those are the success stories that you want. You want to be credible as a leader to say, when we’re working on these things, our goal is to get this plane moving back up in the right direction.

You want to reinforce with those employees so that they sustain that success, right? They don’t just, bottom out, but they really get on a sustained path upward because you want them to reinforce that and put that in the rear view mirror. But you want to be confident when you’re talking in the future to say, no, I have confidence that this process works and I have worked with employees who have addressed very challenging issues and have gotten back to a good place and have continued to advance their career.

[00:35:22] Rodney Apple: Yeah, so I’ve got some examples. I’ll just center on 1, but in our world of executive search a lot of what we do is it’s sales. And I think a lot of folks that come in to recruiting on the agency side versus the corporate or HR side may not understand that aspect and as a leader we have to convey in the very beginning in the interview process. This is sales. You must be able to pick up the phone and reach out to strangers. Now, are we doing that day in day out? No, we’re not. But you have to be able to do that.

You have to be able to reach out through different methods. You have to be able to present an opportunity to the right people in the right way. And sometimes that involves, texting or calling or emailing or sending messages through social media, LinkedIn, and whatnot. And I go back to the folks that just could not make that turn.

And as I. Look back at this individual, I try to get them to, let’s say, crawl and then start walking and then start running. In this example, I went to this recruiter and I told her, hey, this is a, it’s a transportation manager role specifically over the truckload transportation spend category.

The role was in Nashville. I had a, contact of mine relationship somebody I sat a few doors down with at home Depot who had their truckload spend who went to UT. So he’s from Tennessee. I gave this recruiter his name and his number. And this was really just a test. I didn’t. I told her I, what I want you to do is call this individual tomorrow and he may not be interested, but he’s going to know a lot of people because he’s managing a very significant truckload spend..

And so gave the phone number, came in the next day. Hey, did you reach out to so and, come to find out she didn’t. She had gone into LinkedIn, found the person’s profile, A message through LinkedIn, direct opposite of what I had instructed her to do. And at that point, just realize she’s not going to be able to make the turn.

Couldn’t even call someone whose resumes in our database where we have the phone number. And so I let her go that Friday, just sometimes it’s easier to acknowledge. This isn’t the right fit. And I coached her on, you really should pursue opportunities. Maybe, on the HR side or the corporate side and that’s exactly what she did.

So that’s my example.

[00:38:02] Mike Ogle: All right. And hopefully ended up being happier in that kind of position. Anyway.

[00:38:06] Rodney Apple: Listeners, we appreciate you chiming in. If you find this content useful or know someone that could benefit, you can access [email protected]. Under the Resources and Insights tab, you’ll also find lots of other content centered around supply chain careers. As well as professional development and the things that we’re seeing in the supply chain sector as a whole, our new leadership series is really landing with a lot of executive level folks, but that doesn’t mean the content isn’t helpful for those that are aspiring to reach that leadership level.

If you like what you’ve heard on this episode, please subscribe drop us a rating and share it with others that you feel could benefit. Thanks, Chris. Thanks, Mike. And thanks listeners. We appreciate it and we’ll see you on the next episode.

Thank you.


Who is Chris Gaffney?

  • Co-Founder, Edge Supply Chain, providing Supply Chain Services to the CPG Industry
  • 25 Years w/ Coca-Cola holding Supply Chain leadership roles:
    • VP of Global Strategic Supply Chain
    • President of Global Supply
    • SVP of Product Supply Systems
    • VP of Logistics for North America

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