During my years of working in various trade associations, I have constantly been asked by colleagues why I am on the phone all the time. I'm not sure if I know exactly, but I have an idea why.
As many of you know, I come from a retail background, I coach soccer, and I am very comfortable interacting with people. In retail we interact a lot, mostly with customers and fellow associates. Likewise, in coaching I interact a lot, mostly with the kids, their parents, referees, and other coaches. So, while I spend more time in an office or traveling, I find ways to channel my love of interacting.
All this interacting over the years has exposed me to many different people, cultures, and ways of looking at things. It has influenced and guided me toward always finding ways to encourage a greater exchange of ideas among the people in my surroundings. Why? Partly because I enjoy and have a desire to find the value in "out-of-the-box" thinking and how it might help people become better contributors. Not only do I want to make a difference, I want to be different and stand for something different.
I will save the topic of "thinking differently" about coaching for another day, since that particular passion of mine could make for several articles. However, I will say that being a positive influence and mentor to kids these days may be one of the most important things we can do as adults. Kids today are more in need of positive roles models than ever, and I cannot think of anything more rewarding for me, personally.
However, as I continue to embark on my other passion, my career path with FMI, I find myself with a unique opportunity to do professional things differently; now more than ever. As a member of the FMI senior staff with broader exposure and responsibilities in multiple verticals within our membership, I am working to create a much deeper impact on our industry and build stronger bridges between industry executives throughout their organizations. I want to help better integrate organizational value and close some of the loops on how a company can really deliver top- and bottom-line value.
Over the past several years, I have encouraged the idea of raising the bar for executives in the asset protection function by supporting their climb to the C-suite. Through innovative conference sessions, certification programs, strategic leadership initiatives, and unique interaction with professionals from all walks of life, I continue to challenge the status quo of myself and my peers.
All of us should continue to question mediocrity and participation trophies in this industry. We need to lead a new approach to asset protection, risk, and safety; one which has a business mindset and helps current and future leaders concentrate on operationalizing their way of increasing profit by driving process efficiencies, collaborating, and challenging the way things have always been done. These and other various risk mitigation and safety strategies work together to help protect the organization's most important assets—their people, property, and reputation. In my opinion, this is what defines a truly successful business leader.
Over the coming months, the FMI Asset Protection Council and the Risk and Safety Committee will work to do just that. Their focus will shift slightly toward a three-pillar approach—crisis management, future forecasting, and operational efficiencies, with an emphasis on strategy, training, and compliance. These leaders are already working to improve and drive the FMI value within our membership through more focused efforts in these areas. These groups have already embarked on several key project initiatives and have nearly completed the educational development of our third industry conference together, which looks to be our strongest yet.
The Supply Chain Council continues to challenge the way our supply chains operate and is working with their product manufacturers on several key initiatives. These professionals are thinking beyond traditional barriers and working to spearhead true industry collaboration, while driving efficiencies to new levels. Jointly, they are analyzing their distribution and transportation networks to identify occasions for a shared supply chain and investigating opportunities for sharing POS data in an effort to drive down inventory levels to support more flexible and frequent deliveries. FMI also shares a supply-chain conference with the Grocery Manufacturers Association that is filled with educational sessions geared toward countless ways to think differently.
Supporting the entire organization with the means to integrate like never before is the Technology Leadership Council. This group of senior food retail IT leaders is working to provide business technology strategy though communication and continuous education at many of FMI signature events and other conferences. They work to provide clear direction on technology solutions that will effect process change in all aspects of our retailing business and help us effectively engage the organizations both internally and externally, and through technology-enabled operational excellence and execution.
All of these groups regularly discuss benchmarking, best practices, what's working, and what's not as well as explore ways of adding value and improving their contribution to their organizations. As I communicate regularly with these very dedicated and engaged members, we discuss the various challenges and opportunities occurring in this industry. I find myself waiting for the opportunity to say—thinking differently is your greatest asset!