If you are a regular reader of the Cerasis blog, you know how active we are in social media, especially LinkedIn. I had the pleasure of coming across a young man in one of the LinkedIn groups I am a member of and engage in. He came to me looking for my advice on logistics leadership and how he should start out his quest in achieving his goal of one day working for a 3PL. I asked him several questions to get his thoughts started, because, as you know, logistics leadership is not a path of one that is easy work, and so I wanted to make sure he knew what he was getting into. Inherent in logistics is a lot of planning, and attention to detail, and at the heart of it all, appreciating and advocating for the shipper/customer.
I then challenged him to write some words about logistics leadership, goals, and vision, and what he wrote, which is nothing but short of amazing, is below. The thing that strikes me the most is that this young man is a Millennial. Now, many my age or older believe that the generation behind us are entitled, lazy, and have chosen NOT to go into fields such as logistics, transportation, or manufacturing. This young man, Chris Napier, proves all of that wrong. I for one have extreme belief in the generations behind us to do amazing things. Simply, read his words, and you too will be struck by this young man, who undoubtedly has a great career of logistics leadership and professional success ahead of him.
Leadership and Logistics
David was an archer not a foot soldier. He refused to wear the king’s armor protecting him in close combat. He understood his own strengths and weaknesses taking on a giant. It was his vision that cleared the path and one day he became a king. Leaders do not have titles; they are the first to serve. The greatest gift is vision and it does not belong to people with titles; it belongs to those with dreams.
It is a different setting for us and the same as we take the blood, sweat and tears of our client’s livelihood and deliver their promises. This takes vision to deliver because of the many facets of the logistics field can confuse the best of us. Vision is not a result. David’s vision was fighting Goliath with a sling; not by the results of striking his enemy with one head shot. Just as profit is a result of our vision. The only real danger is not creating the dream into a vision. Dreams once broken down into bite sized pieces with time frames leads to action thus into vision. David decided what he needed to do and more importantly he chose what not to do, therefore discovering clarity.
Vision is a precise, clearly defined goal with a detailed plan and timetable for achieving that goal. Hope is the fuel of seeing vision that accomplished. From the outside in, as I am not in the logistics industry, looking at both the people and companies that are competing I have seen very few with a vision. This is not uncommon in any industry. My concern is the amount of details that it takes to be successful living in the complicated margins logistic companyies both live and die in. Vision could be the clarifying light. How do we get clarity? One litmus test that could be applied to understand if we have vision; why should anyone care that I got up this morning?
I’m guessing on that morning David fought the giant while realizing his vision he did not see his day finishing off the way it did and he was prepared to meet it.
My interest in logistics is discovering the visions of both parties and mutual synergy. Here is why: The details matter. Bringing the raw materials (even finished products) through the process to the end user is not necessarily easily done flawlessly. Even finished products are raw and unused until they are consumed. Converting the liabilities (unused) into assets (consumed) is the task set before 3PL organizations. Understanding the detailed vision just as David’s understanding that archery and not fighting a ground war by sword can lead to success.
I’m a personally looking for an opportunity to be able to serve from the inside.
Chris Napier is a Production Operations/Marketing degree seasoned with ten years of B2B and B2C business development. Strong financial understanding and background with a process driven orientation. I serve as a federal continuing education trainer and I have a board seat.