On my Interlinks podcast series, I recently interviewed two of my colleagues from the Supply Chain Special Interest Group at the Society for the Advancement of Consulting (SAC), Lisa Anderson of LMA Consulting in the Los Angeles Metro Area and Dr. Karen Y. Wilson-Starks of Transleadership Inc. in Colorado Springs. In our discussion, we explored some of the challenges that organisations are facing at the current time in a post-COVID world characterised by ongoing disruptions and challenges at home and abroad.

During our conversation, one of the key issues that we are seeing with our client companies in Europe and in North America is that it’s the shortage of talent with the requisite skills and experience that is increasingly the limiting factor stalling the ability of organizations, business units, and departments to execute their high-priority strategic initiatives and projects.

This is happening at precisely the time, when the strategic environment for almost all businesses is changing so rapidly, that the need for skills to formulate and execute strategic initiatives is greater, and more urgent than ever. The reasons for the dearth of the right type of resources are manifold and include demographic, economic and social elements.

On the demographic front, as the baby boomers born through the late 50s and early 60s move into retirement age in the early 2020s, the cohorts coming behind them are simply smaller. There are just fewer people overall with the accumulated experience and skills required, and this is coinciding with a period when the demand for such skills is increasing dramatically.

Likewise, on the social and economic front, many younger professionals in their 30s and 40s have reassessed their priorities over the last couple of years during the COVID pandemic and have come up with new answers as to what really matters for them. This has led some to change careers, set up their own businesses, or simply exit the workforce altogether.

Whatever the causes, the effects for organizations are very serious, even dangerous, and include:

  • Staff shortages leading to reduced bandwidth for the executive levels to do their strategy and planning work because they are increasingly getting pulled into day-to-day firefighting.
  • Executives are missing the rapidly changing landscape referred to earlier and not course adjusting to avoid threats nor seeing opportunities as they arise.
  • Operational people are under pressure, and consequently they have less time to implement change and improvement initiatives.
  • The experienced people who are leaving organizations are taking with them invaluable and sometimes irreplaceable institutional knowledge and key relationships.

This situation is not sustainable and will require solutions to avoid adverse negative consequences over the medium term for many organisations.

In my 2019 book International Supply Chain Solutions: Creating Competitive Advantage in a Globalized Economy, I wrote a chapter called Let’s Make a Movie that draws the analogy between the way movies are made and the way strategic projects and initiatives in supply chain could be implemented in the future.

With movies, a client commissions and a coordinator brings together a team of independent specialists in an ad hoc fashion for a finite period to deliver a specific outcome before disbanding and perhaps coming together again with the same or different team members under a new commission from a different client. I believe that this is increasingly the way that organizations will deliver key projects in the future so that they can access the best of the scarce talent resources available in various domains of expertise.

If you would like to discuss how I may be able to help you and your business formulate and deliver your strategic initiatives in this way you can contact me directly on +353 86 811 6030 or pdaly@albalogistics.com, wherever you are in the world, to start the conversation.

You may also like to listen to my Interlinks podcast here Patrick Daly Interlinks Podcast (albalogistics.com) or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other main podcast platforms where there are over 90 recorded episodes on diverse topics with business practitioners from all around the world.

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