What a wild ride it has been for Supply Chain leaders!  I can’t help but think of the image we all remember of the test pilot strapped into the rocket rail-sled testing the impact of wind and g-forces in rapid acceleration.  With the extreme acceleration, the ability to see your surroundings and turn your head left or right on the sled would have been almost impossible.  And the start of the pandemic pressed the “launch” button for supply chain on a rocket rail-sled with what seems like no end in sight.

Along this extreme ride, supply chain leaders have faced what seems like a non-stop barrage of challenges and crises:

  • Un-forecasted high demand
  • Inventory level chasing
  • Labor shortages
  • Supplier challenges
  • Logistics chaos
  • Remote work adjustments
  • And the list goes on………

With so much focus on maintaining business continuity amongst all the supply chain volatility, the greater the risk in forgetting to take the “pulse and temperature” of your talent.  In the pre-pandemic days, there were always operational challenges but it felt like the ability to take those “pulse and temperature” checks was much easier and happened naturally in most cases.  Fast forward to now and the rail-sled you’re on could be making it much easier for you to lose the direct and peripheral awareness of your talent.

While I don’t see the sled slowing down anytime soon, it’s going to take more effort on the part of supply chain leaders to ensure their talent remains a priority too.  The 600+ mph sled makes it harder to do this but by no means impossible.  It’s going to take a bit more of a conscious effort to pause, look left then right and bring your individual talent into focus.  And make sure it’s genuine focus too.  Don’t turn it into another task where you ask a simple “how are you doing?” and then begin an abrupt shift to business as usual.  Give 100% mindshare when engaging despite how difficult it may be to put all the other crises aside.  If we don’t take the pulse and temperature of our talent as we are speeding down this rail, our talent will become the next crisis.