I recently spoke to a supply chain manager who was a little frustrated because he didn’t feel appreciated by the rest of his organization, despite working tremendously hard. His team of supply planners comprises extremely professional and highly qualified people. As planning experts, they get the absolute most out of the resources and capacity available to them. However, they are working in a turbulent and over-stretched market environment. This regularly creates tension and discussions with the Sales & Marketing department because it is not always possible to fulfil the high demand. “Why don’t they understand the situation? We keep explaining it to them in detail…” he sighed.
I found the answer to that question by thinking about the differences in the behavioural styles of the planners on the one hand and the sales and marketing people on the other. Whereas planners have a natural tendency to focus on facts, details, logical thinking and minimal decision-making risks, their sales and marketing colleagues are much more involved in devising new ideas, creativity and team-building.
Successful communication between these two extremes on the behavioural spectrum requires compromises on both sides. When you understand how the other person thinks and acts, you can ‘repackage’ your message so that it is more likely to be understood. I myself find the DISC colour-coded personality profiles useful in determining which communication style will be most effective. In the example above, there is a huge amount of ‘blue’ communicating with ‘yellow’ – two attractive colours in their own right, but they don’t automatically produce a nice green!