In the supply-chain industry, you strive daily to improve the productivity, but have you thought about your personal supply chain? Regardless of the industry, relationships play a key role. Adding “spice” to your your job means building meaningful relationships in your personal supply chain.
We've all been told that networking is important to our careers. Your introduction is the first step to putting spice in your job. It's that little extra to make the job better.
When you say you are a logistics manager, does that mean you manage planes, trains, or automobiles? Titles are often misleading. A project manager can be very different in a telecom than in consumer products.
As a “career engineer,” I've heard plenty of introductions, mostly inadequate, when making that first contact. Maybe you think your neighbor or new daughter-in-law is asking what you do to be polite, but don't miss the opportunity to engage with others. Simply responding, “I'm in purchasing” doesn't tell the story. You need to supply enough information to improve your own personal supply chain.
Your introduction is the first step to putting spice in your job.
Trust is my best answer. If “John” understands your credentials and work ethics in purchasing, your value to the other person has increased. We want to trust new people in our lives, and with the fast pace in our work world, engagement with others adds considerable trust in a new relationship. Later, if you happen to need information, a favor, a recommendation, someone to call, there's your spice! You both have a taste of who you are and what you do.
Saying only that you are “in supply chain” is not sufficient. In a recent book by Terri Sjodin, she masterfully provides a three-point process, which we all learned in Speech 101, but often neglect:
- Get attention; don't be boring. “I make sure your oregano comes in a shatterproof bottle.”
- Describe what you do in approximately three points or three sentences. “I'm actually in purchasing where I source glass bottles for XYZ company. Our company sells spices in huge quantities to the food industry. You probably have one or more of the bottles I purchased in your kitchen.”
- Summarize or call to action. “I'd be curious to know if you've used our products. Maybe, if I see you at the next meeting, you can tell me whether my brands are in your kitchen.”
Sjodin's book, titled “Small Message, Big Impact” provides practical suggestions for being persuasive and authentic. Marketing and sales professionals often receive training to be effective, yet they may forget how important that first impression is. Regardless of industry, the first few minutes can make or break the opportunity for a new person in your life.
A perfect opportunity for adding to your personal supply chain could be speaking to an unemployment group. John Q. Public often doesn't understand the breadth of opportunities in supply chain or other industries. You may be able to help fill an opening in your department with a referral from the event.
LinkedIn, of course, is a powerful tool for business professionals to network. Perhaps you will be attending an upcoming professional conference. You may want to look at the profiles of the other speakers to gain ideas for talking points with possible new colleagues.
Always carry business cards but don't just shove the card into someone's hand. This is an opportunity for a 30-second “commercial” that encourages remembering you.
Taking a class to improve your skills is a double whammy for adding new people to your personal supply chain. Learning new methods will improve your job while adding networking contacts.
Adding people to your personal supply chain adds spice in your job. Creating your own personal supply chain is not just adding people, but adding people that you get to know!
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— Ruth Glover, Career Engineer and Entrepreneur, owns Career Consultations, a career counseling firm which dares to be different.