Earlier in the year I used this blog to share a few unsolicited, yet hopefully thought-provoking perspectives on Core Values and Leadership, Innovation, Initiative, and Creative Solutions. If I may be so bold, today I offer a few thoughts on additional skills we as life cycle logistics professionals should consider cultivating in our own lives and careers, and perhaps more importantly, for those who work for or with us. Agree or disagree, might I humbly suggest a few of these skills include:
1. Wise Stewardship. Whether they be policies, processes, system readiness, customer satisfaction, equipment, human capital, or funding we must be always seek to wise stewards of the resources entrusted to our care.
2. Communication. Starting with mastery of both the spoken and written word, this skill must be honed and enhanced over many years. We are never done improving in this area. It also includes the more subtle art of learning what not to say, how to say it, to whom, and when is the most appropriate time to do so. And most importantly, listen.
3. Work ethic. Be known as “a closer,” someone who can be counted on to get the job done. Go above and beyond. Do more than what’s required or expected. Be a servant leader.
4. Know your Customer. Understand the organizations and the people you and your organization support. See #2 above.
5. Be an expert. The foundation of your credibility is ultimately your expertise. Be masters of their craft at every level. If you don’t have personal experience in a particular area of logistics for example, seek it out. Take a class, talk to people, ask questions, read. Understand the nuances of both wholesale and retail DoD supply. Recognize why we have multiple levels of maintenance in DoD and how they are determined. Learn.
6. Seek knowledge. View achieving the DAWIA certification requirements as a threshold, not as the ultimate objective; a starting point, not the end state. Constantly seek to learn. Take a class. Go back to college. Understand not only the statutory and policy requirements which apply to your job, but seek to understand best practices, trends, lessons learned, leadership successes (and failures) of others in your community.
7. Cross-functional perspective. Cross-functional interdisciplinary integration is a foundational aspect of truly successful integrated product teams (IPTs). Learn about other facets of DoD logistics. Operational. Joint. If your background is in life cycle logistics, resolve to better understand the broader tenets of "big L" logistics: maintenance, distribution, materiel management or supply chain management. Gain knowledge in systems engineering, cost estimating, test & evaluation, program management, or any of the more than a dozen other defense acquisition workforce career fields.
8. Integrity. Integrity matters. Do what is right. Expect excellence from yourself and those you work with.
9. Innovation. See things that need to be done, and enthusiastically go do it. Not only embrace change, but constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to improve both yourself and your organization. Ask. Ask why. Ask why not. Then ask why not again.
10. Be prepared. Plan. Budget. Anticipate. Allocate time and resources to required activities. Understand, manage, and mitigate risks. Anticipate events that could happen and understand their potential consequences. Otherwise the unexpected and unplanned will somehow seem to sneak up when you least expect it.
So what do you think? Are these on-target, or completely off base? What did I miss? What else? Why? Why not? If not you, then whom?
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