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Q: Waiter, What Is This Fly Doing In My Soup?

By Art van Bodegraven | 05/02/2014 | 2:02 PM

A: It appears to be the backstroke, sir.  That's about all it takes to bring out the inner fierceness in me.  But, I had a few thoughts that follow up on last week's blog.  Of course, anything, including ferocity, can be taken to unhealthy extremes.  That does not give us license to condemn all fierceness becaue it might make some of us uncomfortable to be sitting too close to the flame.

I've been surrounded by fierceness for most of my life, beginning with a widowed mother who managed to send all of her children to university, and teach them that life's journey, even in early years, is not a free ride.  Later, mijn vrouw dicovered one day that she was caring for four children age five and younger.  In such cases, fierceness is a core survival skill.  Of course, I occasonally mention The Kid's older sister who sings, dances, writes, paints, boxes, and has time to simultaneously be an annoying teenager.  Her mother has been fierce in her own right, super-capable, super-organized, and super-demanding in the accountability of others.

But, fierceness is not limited to personal lives.  Our younger daughter found herself unable to obtain a teaching position in which a carry-concealed permit would  have been only a partial equalizer.  She turned to waiting tables, and (with zero experience) vowed to become the best waitress in the joint.  If one measures by tip income, she succeeded.  Later, she taught herself production planning and scheduling and went from the leading commercial and residential coverings maker to running a 21-plant network.  Bored, she taught herself sourcing and procurement and became the single greatest volume buyer of virgin resins in the US.  From there, she went to running a North American  supply chain network; her super-secret objective has not yet been met, but is on the radar screen.  Along the way, she does mini-marathons and triathlons - and has taught herself to be an amazing gourmet cook. 

Other examples in the supply chain world abound.  Ann Drake at DSC comes to mind, and may define fierceness.  And, ferocity is not gender-limited.  The legendary Joe Andraski is not only fierce on a 24/7 basis, he has created a small army of fierce practitioners who permeate our leading supply chain organizations.

I'm thinking we need a new slogan to energize the next generaton of leaders.  Maybe something like "Give fierce a chance!"

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About Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven (1939 - 2017) was Managing Principal of the van Bodegraven Associates consultancy and Founding Principal of Discovery Executive Services, which develops and delivers supply chain educational programs. He was formerly Chair of the Supply Chain Group AG, Partner at The Progress Group LLC, Development Executive at CSCMP, Practice Leader with S4 Consulting, and a Managing Director in Coopers & Lybrand's consulting practice. Concentrating in supply chain management and logistics for over 20 years in his 50+ year business career, he has led ground-breaking strategic, operational, and educational projects for leading US and global clients. Art was principal co-author of DC Velocity's Basic Training monthly column for a decade, and was the principal co-author, with Ken Ackerman, of Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, the definitive primer in the field. His popular blog, The Art of Art, has been a staple of DC Velocity's web site since its inception.


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