What does it take to be a leader in transportation and supply chain? Authenticity, decisiveness, and strength of character rank high, according to industry leaders gathered for SMC3 Connections, an industry conference held online this week.
In a session titled The New Playbook for Next-Generation Leadership, industry executives Judy McReynolds, chairman, president, and CEO of integrated logistics firm ArcBest, and Shelley Simpson, chief commercial officer and executive vice president of people and human resources at transportation and logistics company J.B. Hunt, defined leadership and their view of what it will take to develop the industry’s newest generation of leaders.
Both women shared their personal leadership journeys, and emphasized the importance of taking advantage of challenges and opportunities as they arise throughout your career. They also said that finding the best future leaders means identifying candidates that not only possess the right business skills and success record to do the job, but who will enhance their company’s culture, care about the people they work with, and are decisive and authentic.
“One of the first things I’ll ask is what their approach is to people. We want people that care about people,” Simpson said, emphasizing the importance of cultivating talent in a growing organization and pointing to the need for authenticity among leaders as a way to get there. “How authentic [are they] and do I really buy their story? Do they have integrity? Those are things that I look for.”
McReynolds agreed and also pointed to the need for decisive leadership.
“So much of what we do can be challenging and you want to know that the work that the person is doing matters to them,” she explained. “The other thing … as you think about leaders, [you want] people that can make a decision. They can make a good decision. They have the right balance between studying something to death versus being able to really move forward.”
SMC3 Connections is a three-day event that includes educational workshops, networking events, and exhibit booths. For more information on the conference, visit the SMC3 Connections website.