Redefining Leadership in the Distribution Industry
The best way to get to know your customers? Spend time with them.
Last summer, we followed UnleashWD founder and We Supply America executive producer Dirk Beveridge’s journey across America as he and his team met with local distributors from every corner of the country. He learned a lot, and we did, too.
Not quite a year later, Dirk is sharing his journey via podcast with Modern Distribution Management. In a recent segment, Beveridge joined Modern Distribution Management CEO Tom Gale to talk about what he learned and what it means for the industry.
Business is human
To kick off the podcast, Dirk stated that he believes, at the core, distributors need to realize and be conscious that business is 100% human. “In this ever-evolving digital age, no matter how much technology we have implemented, what we do as distributors is all about the people and the humanity of business.”
Throughout the conversation, Dirk and Tom focused on the challenges for businesses in today’s world – inflation, supply chain, labor shortages – it feels like an endless list. But. These disruptions and challenges also provide opportunities – and that those opportunities can be found within each organization through leadership and culture.
Rethinking the nature of leadership
Dirk went on to say distributors need to rethink how they lead. “The very nature of leadership is changing more rapidly than most of us realize, and it must be different going forward.” Leadership is changing from a mindset of controlling, legislating, policing, and fear tactics to a more managing, visionary, and strategic approach. To win in our new world, leaders need to be noble and focused on their people. They need to create a “family culture” within their business – a culture where people feel that they’re part of something bigger than themselves.
Being part of something bigger than yourself
Many times on Dirk’s journey, he talked with employees in the warehouse and on the dock. Many had been with their company for 20-30 years. And almost every one of those employees told Dirk they had been there so long because they were not just a number, and the company was like a family to them. Today’s ever-changing business culture is still finding its footing, but through his journey, Dirk identified seven traits that build the foundation for strong business culture.
The 7 traits of a strong business culture
- Deep bond culturally within an organization
- Deep connection, not just with employees and leadership, but a connection amongst employees themselves
- Deep commitment to people
- Dignity and pride in the job
- Sense of belonging
- Value in the job
- Real love in the business
It’s the bond, connection, and culture of companies that will enable businesses to succeed in the coming years. The most important aspect of your business isn’t your product… It’s your people.
To subscribe or listen to the MDM Podcast on iTunes, Google Play Music or Spotify: https://www.mdm.com/podcasts/
Build a brighter future for your distribution business
Have questions about your business? Talk to one of our Barnes Dennig wholesale distribution industry experts, or call us at 513.241.8313 to ensure your business is successfully transforming in the wholesale distribution landscape. We’re here to help.