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Transformational Leadership in Times of Great Change

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Transformational Leadership in Times of Great Change

April 19, 2022

Transformational Leadership in Times of Great Change

Did you ever take one of those behavioral assessments? You know the kind with questions like these:  

When entering a party, you:
a.) look for someone you know
b.) start a conversation with anyone
c.) stand in the corner and look at your watch? 

Or, in a business meeting, you:
a.) Sit at the head of the table
b.) stand by the wall until everyone else is seated
c.) sit next to a colleague so you can safely complain about why you need to be in this meeting.  

Behavior, particularly in leadership roles, needs to adapt to the circumstances. Here is a simple example: 

My normal behavior is to avoid any proximity to a snake. That has served me well as I have yet to been bitten by one of the reptiles. However, a few years back I had a few teammates run into one at a distribution center we were just opening. A large, agitated snake was in the entrance way. As the senior person in that group, my behavior had to change. Armed with a very long push broom, I escorted the beast to a more suitable home.  

I adapted to the circumstance, but after the task, my behavior reverted to avoidance.

We are headed into a time of operational transformation. Supply chain constraints, labor shortages, real estate capacity shortages will all require a response. How we lead through that transition may require a modification to your typical leadership skills. The transactional leadership style that is successful in day-to-day behavior managing in steady state operating environments, won’t succeed.  

What is transactional leadership? 

“Transactional leadership is a style focused on organization, supervision, and performance. Transactional leaders value structure, order, and predefined rules. These rules are considered necessary to keep the organization running efficiently.” Yscouts.com 

While those are all very important skills, they are not always the best during times of great change. Often transformational leadership is required to lead a change journey which then gets handed off to more transactional leadership for the steady state process. This is the ideal – the right leadership for the right circumstances. 

How many of us have the capacity to bring in a different set of leaders for change/transformation than what is there for status quo? Often the current leadership team also is tasked with managing the transformation. 

Since we already have a definition of transactional, that begs the question for transformational, “What are the skills needed to be a transformational leader?” 

Transformational Leadership requires specific skills. Let’s review the most critical ones and why they are so important. 

Vision
A transformational leader must have a vision; that’s the start of the journey. The vision and the future operation environment need to be the goal and while the path to get there may change, those two things stay in sync and consistent. The vision needs to be consistent with company culture and communicated and embraced by the internal team and other stakeholders. This allows the leader to be open to the unique strategies that can be employed to accelerate transformation rather than creating roadblocks.  

Adaptability
As you embark on a transformation in your warehouse operations, there will be a lot of planning and building out of a successful strategy. Then something will go wrong. It is so hard to anticipate what will go wrong, but regardless of the bumps, they cannot stop progress. To best handle these times, the ability to adapt is critical, especially when faced with a surprise. That type of behavior aligns well with a comfort-level in decision-making, where you want progress, not analysis paralysis.  

Risk-taking
Transformational leaders need to be open to taking risks. Not random, poorly evaluated risks, but there will always be some ambiguity. A leader needs to act. The transformational leader gets the relevant data, gathers feedback from the team, and reviews alternatives to the situation. They are receptive to new ideas from the team and others, but in the end, they take responsibility for their decisions.  

It’s Contagious
The characteristics of being an adaptable visionary who makes well-thought out decisions in spite of occasional risk, and also takes responsibility, will develop confidence and inspire those around them to model those behaviors. This will help develop a new group of transformational leaders. 

Can a transactional leader modify their behavior to become a transformational leader? Change is never easy, but people are capable of change. A great deal of introspection is required that will also bring great opportunities for growth. Bonus: it might be a lot easier than wrangling a snake.

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Jeremy Hudson

Vice President of Client Services

Jeremy’s focus is on the products and services clients need to stay competitive. Open Sky Group’s mission is to deliver technology-enabled solutions that allow our customers to achieve more while having the flexibility to adapt to change. Jeremy lives the core values and mission by bringing the best experience possible to our clients. He is an essential member of implementation teams, working alongside clients, and encouraging them to use innovation and best practices instead of customizations for success.

Jason Yantiss

Vice President of Client Services

Jason provides leadership to a variety of teams focused on implementation and integration. With 27+ years of experience holding operational and technical management roles in transportation, billing, and warehousing across a vast array of industry verticals, Jason is adept at driving multiple complex projects, understanding customer needs at all levels of the operation and providing viable solutions. Jason’s resume of 150+ implementation projects include Warehouse, Labor, Transportation, Yard Management and multiple AR/AP Freight Pay and Customer Billing systems. 

Eric McPherson

Vice President of Client Services

Mac works to oversee implementation and integration projects. A former Marine officer and military police officer, he brings over 27 years of supply chain experience, including 11 years at Blue Yonder in both delivery and service sales. Mac is a dedicated, team-oriented professional with a background in business management, professional services, customer service, and supply chain technology. His specialties include sales support, supply chain execution systems, project management, fulfillment operations, distribution operations, and GSA contracts.

Shannon Caflisch

Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Shannon is responsible for the strategy and management of all sales, business development, and marketing programs. With over 25 years of sales experience and 15 years focused in the supply chain space, Shannon focuses on building strong relationships with clients and partners and strives to deliver the right software solutions to help conquer supply chain challenges. Shannon believes in learning by listening to understand clients’ goals, struggles, and what is important to their business to build lasting, successful relationships.

Alan Prillaman

Senior Vice President of Client Services

As Senior VP of Client Services, Alan oversees all consulting services and account management at Open Sky Group. Possessing over 30 years of combined industry and consulting experience, Alan leverages his unique background in IT, logistics, quality management systems, manufacturing and distribution operations, and facility and strategic account management to provide clients with creative resolutions to complex challenges. His core philosophy and passion are to deliver tangible value for and establish long-term trusted partnerships with our clients.

Mike Noble

Senior Vice President of Technology

As Senior Vice President of Technology, Mike leads Open Sky Group’s Managed Services, Software Services, Infrastructure Services, and Information Technology teams bringing 35+ years of experience in Supply Chain Execution and Information Technology. Mike and his teams ensure we maintain the highest levels of customer service in a secure and reliable environment, constantly reviewing and evaluating new technologies, their appropriateness and applicability so we can safely and securely transact our own business – and help our clients accomplish the same.

Chad Kramlich

CEO

Joining Open Sky Group in 2015, Chad, served as Chief Revenue Officer for three years prior to his appointment to CEO in 2022. With over 25 years of experience delivering results for high-growth software and consulting organizations, Chad is leveraging his background in building efficient and effective implementation teams, establishing high-impact services operations, achieving revenue growth, and deepening executive-level client relations to help propel Open Sky Group into a very successful future.