Appreciation: My Motive for Providing Education
Somebody recently asked me why I’m so committed to providing supply chain and logistics education, when I already have so much on my plate with the consulting side of things.
It wasn’t a difficult question to answer, but it occurred to me that readers of this blog might want to know a bit more about the man behind it, and why he could possibly want to fill his life with an endless to-do list by running not one, but a handful of businesses.
Now that’s a tougher question to answer, and one that needs breaking down into constituent parts. In this post, I’d like to cover one of those parts—why do I love providing education?
Having just recently addressed that question with somebody who asked, it makes sense to answer it here, while that conversation is fresh in my recall.
First: The One-word Answer
When I answered this question the first time, I needed only one word… Appreciation!
It probably didn’t make much sense until I expanded on it a little. Perhaps it should have been three words… Appreciation of people!
Now, just as I did the first time—because it will make a little more sense afterward—I’ll take some time to answer the question in full.
The Long Answer: Part 1
It’s really quite simple, yet takes some explaining, so I’ll start at the beginning.
I consider myself lucky to have been pretty successful in my career and later, my business life. But my success is largely due to other people. Which other people?… All of them!
All the people who comprised the companies that I worked for, those who founded the companies that I’ve worked with as a consultant: they are the people to whom I’m grateful, and to whom I feel the need to express my appreciation.
But then it goes deeper than that, because without the customers who traded with those companies, they couldn’t have existed, and I would not have the people in those companies to appreciate. Are you still with me?
There Are so Many People to Appreciate…
In fact there are thousands, because it wouldn’t be right for my appreciation to end with the people I already mentioned. There are also the companies behind those customers, the employers who pay the wages of the consumers, the companies that do business with the companies that did business with me, and the people behind those companies… And the list goes on.
What I wanted to do was to somehow give back to all these people, and providing education is partly my way of doing that. Perhaps it’s a classic case of the cliché “paying it forward” in a sense.
People got me where I am, and by providing education for people as economically as possible (because I’m not so successful as to be able to do it gratis—at least not all the time), I feel I’m able to express my appreciation, using all that people have taught me to try and provide some benefits for others.
The Long Answer: Part 2
It’s funny how answering one question always leads to another being asked, and right now the obvious one might be “why have I chosen my particular path in providing education?”
As you may know, my educational services are provided through a small handful of endeavours, namely:
- Supply Chain Leaders Academy: An online and “physical” education program for supply chain practitioners and other business professionals
- Supply Chain Secrets: An Internet-based eLearning program
- Supply Chain Secrets Books: A series of books that provide pragmatic tips and guidance for effective supply chain management.
- Supply Chain Leaders Insights: An annual coaching and training event
- Supply Chain Leaders Boardroom: A peer group for executive leaders and senior managers
It’s through these particular education programs that I channel my appreciation and “pay forward” for what people have done for me (whether they know it or not).
There are actually two reasons why I love to focus primarily on supply chain and logistics education. Firstly, it’s because that’s the business I know best, and one in which I’ve learned through exposure to a lot of scenarios that many supply chain professionals might only come across once or twice in their careers. That’s one of the benefits of being a specialised consultant.
Secondly, it’s because again, through my consulting practice, I’ve seen so many companies make the same mistakes and suffer with the same supply chain problems.
By including those problems, mistakes, and solutions in my educational endeavours, I believe I can help the next generation of leaders to prepare for, overcome, and even completely avoid many of the issues which as a consultant, I get called in to solve.
Appreciation Through Perpetuation?
In other words, I love to educate because I believe that through doing so, I can help new business leaders to improve their supply chains, strengthen their businesses, and so ensure that others like me can continue to succeed in the future and perpetuate the cycle.
I like to think that businesses become stronger when leaders benefit from industry-specific education, in turn providing more opportunities for professionals to enjoy successful careers, and then go on to create more strong businesses, and so on.
Idealistic it may be, but it’s my prerogative to be idealistic, and to hope that I’ve chosen a good way to express my appreciation for being where I am today, and my gratitude to the people who helped me to enjoy a satisfying career and frankly, a quite wonderful life.