IT & Operations

Webinar: How does the blue Logistics & Supply Chain Manager function in a change process?

November 10, 2015

Because people working in logistics often focus only on the core processes and analytical tasks, little attention is being paid to the human component, even though problems of an operational nature often have a human cause, says Roland Slegers. He wrote a thesis on the Logistics & Supply Chain Manager, titled "The Logistical Chameleon."

As interim change manager in Logistics, Roland Slegers realized that he had been hired because he had an understanding of "moving boxes," but in practice he was often working on processes involving interaction between people. "When I am called in something has already gone wrong or action must be taken immediately. It involves major change processes. I noticed that, although there were problems of an operational nature, they were mainly just symptoms. The causes often lie in interaction between people. I wanted to know more about this and that is why I did my PhD research on the effectiveness of leadership behavior in logistics contexts."

To what extent does the logistics context differ from others?

"It can vary considerably, and this is mainly due to the type of people employed as Logistics & Supply Chain Managers and the context in which they operate. This person has one important task, namely to translate the dynamics of 'outside' into peace and structure inside the organization. A clear structure is needed to ensure that the process runs smoothly. And such a structure is created with the help of checklists and processes with the necessary IT support. Someone who can perform such a task well is the so-called 'blue person': Precise, factual, objective, deliberate, formal, direct, and task-oriented are the qualities attributed to him."

Then where does the problem lie when it comes to leading change processes?

"When you make changes you have to deal with people. Various stakeholders are involved in such a process and to implement a change all the stakeholders have to agree. A blue person is the type of person who is generally less interested in the interaction between people. He or she finds that difficult. I recognize it in myself. Before, I used to behave like a bull in a china shop sometimes, but that has changed after I delved into this aspect deeper, and my behavior has become more effective. When you become aware of your behavior, this helps you improve the positive impact of your behavior. The first step of the learning process is awareness through reflection."

What goes wrong when the logistics manager is unaware of his behavior?

"It will lead to miscommunication, different views of reality, and the symptom that 'being right is not always the same as being proved right.'" The manager finds it hard to carry out the assignment. And he does not get to where he wants to go. He must push and pull to get things done, and he has to overcome resistance. This may sometimes even 'topple' people.
It happens at all the management levels of an organization. From middle management to the very top. It may be that people higher up in the organization are somewhat more sensitive politically, but the question is whether political behavior is also always effective behavior."

Webinar "The Logistics Chameleon"
Following his doctoral research, Roland Slegers wrote a thesis entitled "The Logistics Chameleon." During a Dutch-language webinar on November 12, Slegers will discuss the motivation of the Logistics & Supply Chain Manager and how most people are unaware of behavior and impact.