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Manufacturing Industry Updates Supply Chain Industry Updates

How Do Leaders Succeed? They Adapt.

“Uh, please tell me we have a plan for this. Right?” (iStock/serpeblu)

You might be hard-pressed to think of a more disruptive year than 2020, but here’s a contender: 65 million B.C.

That, give or take, was when an asteroid landed off the coast of what is now Mexico and put an end to the reign of the dinosaurs. Talk about disruption with a capital “D.”

But that crash landing opened the door for more resilient creatures that eventually thrived in the radically new conditions. They may have been rodent-like, but early mammals proved highly adaptable, which brings us to the keynote address of this week’s Virtual Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo Americas. Really.

He may not have cited Juramaia sinensis in his comments (pity), but Tom Enright, vice president/analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice, noted that today’s organizations, too, have to be adaptable to survive. “Companies that achieve long-term efficient growth over their industry peers during turbulent times do so because they are better at protecting large, transformative growth bets across the business cycle,” Enright said. “They avoid reactive responses to macroeconomic conditions and take advantage of uncertainty to break away from industry competitors.”

If Juramaia sinensis hadn’t continued to evolve into creatures that build cities and hold noisy elections and instead were still around today in her original form, she’d probably be nodding her skinny little head in agreement.

Enright and Lisa Callinan, vice president/team manager with the Gartner Supply Chain practice, said companies should be adaptive in three areas:

  • Strategy — Don’t be a Triceratops and base your strategic planning cycles on an annual calendar. Instead, you need to be continuously adaptive to the new trends that you have been monitoring.
  • Investments — According to Gartner, 72% of strategists said slow budget reallocation is the biggest barrier to adaptation.
  • Leadership — Bosses need to quickly adjust to the new reality, whether it is a choking dust plume fast approaching from the Yucatan Peninsula or a workforce that is largely and suddenly working from home. “They will need to balance their leadership style and develop skills as a master communicator to empower change and adaptability within the supply chain organization,” Enright said.

For more on the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo Americas, use one of your wonderfully adaptive fingers to click here.