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From Our CEO

Do You Have the Right Mindset?

By ASCM CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE

Each year, companies across the globe spend a whopping $356 billion on employee training, education and leadership-development initiatives. Unfortunately, few of these businesses see a meaningful return on that investment. According to a recent study, this is because organizations neglect a quality that is essential to how people learn, make decisions and conduct themselves — their mindsets.

A Harvard Business Review article explains that mindsets drive what we do and why. They explain why two different people might encounter the same situation, yet process and respond to it very differently. Authors Ryan Gottfredson and Chris Reina write, “When leadership development efforts ignore mindsets, they ignore how leaders see and interpret problems and opportunities.”

Gottfredson and Reina recently investigated research across the social sciences in order to better understand the various mindsets that we possess. They describe them as follows:

Growth versus fixed: Those with a growth mindset believe that people, including themselves, can change their talents, abilities and intelligence. Having a fixed mindset means you think that kind of change is impossible. A growth mindset makes you more mentally primed to approach and take on challenges, give and take feedback, adopt effective problem-solving strategies, and be persistent when working toward goals.

Learning versus performance: People who possess a learning mindset are motivated toward increasing their competence and mastering something new, whereas a performance mindset involves being motivated to gain favorable judgements (or avoid negative judgements) about one’s competence. Those with learning mindsets engage in deep-level learning strategies; tend to perform at a higher level; and are persistent, adaptable and cooperative.

Deliberative versus implemental: If you have a deliberative mindset, you are more receptive to information as a way to ensure that you think and act optimally. Conversely, an implemental mindset means you are more focused on acting on decisions, which may close you off to new and different ideas. People with deliberative mindsets tend to make better choices because they are impartial and accurate in their processing and decision-making.

Promotion versus prevention: A promotion mindset describes an emphasis on winning and gains, while a prevention mindset is depicted by a focused on avoiding loss or preventing problems. The authors note that those with a promotion mindset demonstrate higher levels of task performance and innovative behaviors and are more prone to positive thinking, open to change and likely to persist in the face of a setback.

Mentoring tomorrow’s supply chain leaders

Gottfredson and Reina stress that it is essential for organizations to prioritize development by targeting the four attitudes that enhance our ability to engage with others, navigate change and perform our roles effectively — growth, learning, deliberative and promotion mindsets. The ASCM Case Competition, provided in collaboration with Deloitte Consulting, is a unique opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to hone these essential skills while testing and enhancing their supply chain knowledge.

The program reaches students at universities across North America, as well as in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. This week, Case Competition teams are at the regional rounds, working on an end-to-end supply chain challenge drawn from real-world experiences. The advancing teams then will compete for top prizes at ASCM CONNECT, September 13-15, in New Orleans.

I invite you to help ASCM educate, inspire and engage tomorrow’s supply chain professionals by becoming a mentor or advisor. As we continue to face a skills shortage, the Case Competition is an invaluable opportunity to prime the talent pipeline and ensure the next generation of leaders possess a mindset for success.

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