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Mindset to Troubleshoot Supply Chain Problems

Updated: Nov 16

Supply chain resilience has been the buzzword since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We consider strategies to build more robust supply chains and business operations but the ultimate source of all these solutions is people. Supply chain professionals often face time-sensitive and novel problems that require mental resilience. Here are some tips that I personally use to strengthen my mental frame.

Mental Health

Be sure you take care of your mental health. Taking time outside of work to recharge and get some outside perspectives. It will help you deal with issues that may feel all-consuming and let your mind tackle problems and come up with creative solutions. There are lots of strategies to maintain mental wellness and each person will have different preferences. Maintaining social connections, engaging in a hobby, meditation, eating healthy, being active, and getting sufficient sleep all can play a part in building mental resilience.

Internal Locus of Control

Your perception of whether an outcome of an event is attributed to the environment (external locus of control) or yourself (internal locus of control) will make a difference in how you deal with it. If you attribute issues to the environment and outside of your control, you are less likely to address them head-on. I am not making a philosophical statement of which in reality is more accurate, but you have a better chance (however slight) if you believe you can do something about a problem. As the great hockey player Wayne Gretzky once said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. I also find having this attitude more beneficial socially as people generally don't enjoy being around people who are always blaming their problems on others or their circumstances.

Growth Mindset

This is similar to locus of control but unlike the outcome of the environment, a growth mindset is about your own abilities. People with a fixed mindset have a tendency to believe abilities are innate while people with a growth mindset believe skills can be cultivated through learning and practice. I am not saying people don't have their own talents, strengths, and weaknesses, but the fact that you can still improve and acquire skills that you don’t currently possess is a very powerful frame to address difficult problems. In my opinion, having the ability to become better is one of the greatest gifts we have.

The suggestions I’ve made are for general mental resilience and not supply chain management specifically. But I believe they are very important if you want a successful career. I also believe businesses should always begin and end with people, so it makes sense that a resilient supply chain should begin with resilient minds.

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