Our future life

From the October 2020 print edition

What will your future self look like? Are you taking charge and getting the best from yourself? Hal Hershfield, a UCLA psychologist, notes that imagining our future selves as separate people whose interests and desires matter to us allows us to feel closer to the future you and treat him or her better.

Future supply chain challenges will include developing digital dexterity and employing advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). Beyond communicating, collaborating and managing constant change, supply chain leaders must have not only enterprise IT skills at the user level but also hands-on use. We also need an affinity for technology; an understanding of what drives demand, supply and pricing for the goods and services provided by your organization and its competitors; knowledge of cost-to-serve; flexibility for project management; and an understanding of the principles, pitfalls and challenges of project management.

Getting the best from ourselves
For results we must look beyond identifying weaknesses and explore self-reflection and self-assessment. We must create a road map to take action and to monitor ourselves.

Self-reflection could include the five Rs model (Bain team, 2002): reporting, responding, relating, reasoning and reconstructing. This will allow you to ask questions and seek answers. If your job is killing you, if circumstances are leaving you stressed, if you’re unhappy, tired and frustrated then things are not working for you and must change. When our middle son was in rep hockey, there was a rule that stated, ‘give yourself 24 hours before responding to something that upset you.’ I have done this, and it’s a great idea to use this with many situations in our lives.

Tools for reflection include journaling, blogging, video documentation and voice recordings. The Wheel of Life tool is one such tool, the modern-day version is created by Paul Meyer, a pioneer in life coaching. It contains eight sections – spirituality; health; work; social; development; recreation; family and life planning. Rate yourself in each area from one to 10. The process facilitates which areas you should focus on and gives you a perspective of your life. Such self-reflection improves self-awareness, provides perspective, a deeper level of learning and confidence while enabling you to challenge your assumptions.

Self-assessment could include tools such as the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, a self-report inventory identifying personality type, strengths and preferences. The questionnaire was developed by Isabel Myers and her mother Katharine Briggs based on their work with Carl Jung’s theory of personality types. Today, the MBTI inventory is one of the most widely used psychological instruments in the world.

Or, try writing a personal mission statement to define your fundamental purpose. It gets to the why of you and states who you are. A roadmap could include a personal vision statement, a timeline with milestones, questions on goals, skills, knowledge and personal experience.

You can create a roadmap for each goal. I like the seven-step method from Design Epic Life:

  • Define the big picture
  • Define the end of the roadmap
  • Define the milestones, achievements and rewards
  • Define the process
  • Define the obstacles
  • Track your actions
  • Do a regular review

An action plan should include setting smart goals: specific, measurable, attainable and time focused.
It could include a personal vision statement to define your current and future objectives while guiding and helping you to make decisions that align with your beliefs and goals. Criteria include concise; clear; time based; future based; stable; challenging; inspiring and abstract. You can return to it, review and revise as well as use it for reference. It helps you set a broader strategic plan with a long-term focus to differentiate you, as well as focus on core competencies needed to achieve your goals.

Monitoring your plan could include aspects like educational, spiritual, physical, emotional and social. Setting personal KPIs, which focus on small, achievable steps, help keep your goal in mind while staying motivated. If, for example, you set physical fitness goals, monitoring them could include fitness trackers and apps. Professionally, if you’re working to improve focus, the process could include the Pomodoro Technique, a time management strategy; a meditation app such as Insight Timer; or Panda – an extension that offers a focus mode.

There are many benefits to focusing on getting the best from yourself: smarter goal setting, a more balanced life, less stress, self confidence, improved quality of life, enriched relationships, better health, fewer bad habits. I recently came across two figures: if your annual income is under $50,000, invest three per cent of it in yourself. When your income climbs above $50,000, invest five per cent.
There are many cost-effective ways to work on your development. Take a class or course, read, watch webinars, ask for feedback, shadow others and observe, network, attend conferences, journal, meditate or get a mentor.

In the future, supply chain leaders and their teams will face additional challenges in a virtual environment. This will compel us to anticipate trends, pivot quickly to take advantage of opportunities, provide appealing workplaces and challenge our ability to attract and retain employees. Focusing on our own development will help us to meet these challenges.

Lisa Fenton is supply chain manager at Rapala VMC Corporation.