Davy Crockett and the Supply Chain

Davy Crockett

In the latest addition of Supply Chain Quarterly,  Dr Bruce Arntzen, Executive Director of Supply Chain Management at MIT writes an article about the lack of leadership training for students in logistics/supply chain courses entitled “4 Keys for Unlocking Leadership Potential” http://bit.ly/2vX1LUL. Colleges are really good teaching logistics/supply chain processes but not so good in teaching how to apply these processes in the real world.

Reading the article all of sudden there was Davy Crockett leading the third key to leadership.

Next paragraph I will get it why he was in the article, but first a word about who was Davy Crockett (1786-1836) is as you might now not have been alive in the 1950’s when Davy Crockett was everywhere in pop culture. Davy Crockett was Tennessee frontier’s man, who served in Congress and fought against Indian racist of his day. He lost his seat for that reason and moved to Texas after the election defeat. There he died fighting for Texas independence at the Alamo. In 1948 Walt Disney decided to make a television show about him, and it also resulted a hit song entitled “Davy Crockett”  prompted many children to wear fake coonskin caps.

In the days before trucks, logs were rolled down local streams and rivers to get the wood were it needed to go. Davy Crockett championed the term “logrolling” in Congress for describing the act of trading votes behind the scenes to get your bill pass. The bill would not meet a perfectionist goal but progress was made, rather than have no progress. Yes things like do happen when a bill is not one issues  of those partisans scream about.

Connecting this term to day to day life of an organization, many people have different agenda and interests. To get anything done, sometime compromises and half measures need to happen. Corporate politics has a bad name, but it can be used for constructive processes also. Part of change management practice is to listen to others and understand their issues.  Budget issues will be extremely important in change and maybe not everything can be afforded at the start of the change. Supply Chain has been in a continuous process of change since the mid-20th century. Maybe the logistics/supply chain change your promoting will not be fully implemented as envision If 75% implementation helps the firm and that is the way to make it possible, accept this logrolling moment. Many times once the change is proven, process improvements will have political support to the change and closer to perfection can be achieved.

So “logrolling” as championed by Davy Crockett is an important part of leadership in complex organizations. It is an important part of change management, which is rarely discussed or championed.


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