Executive Spotlight: Highlights of 2021 - Matt Cosson, ARCOP

Professional Development

Supply Chain Scene: Over the course of your career what skills have helped you the most get to where you are now? Do you have any advice for the next generation coming up behind you that want to follow in your footsteps?

Matt Cosson:   I'm really impressed with the next generation of supply chain talent and their understanding of how to work with technology. The supply chain industry has become very, very complex with the rapidly growing use of technology, all of which is improving the industry and our functions. However, what's missing is relationship management lessons for the next generation. The supply chain absolutely has to have relationship management in order to make sure suppliers are choosing you as a customer of choice. This activity is critical in managing risk and managing the continuous supply of products. Incorporating soft skills with technical training make for a very powerful leadership combination of the future.

Be proactive and selective to work for either a company or a leader who will challenge you to work toward something that is greater than yourself. There really isn't anything that's more rewarding than to successfully pursue something difficult that's bigger than yourself. Make sure your leader knows that you’re available to take on any challenge and be eager. We’re all going to have long hours at work and time away from family, so it must be worth it. There are many leaders that don’t know how to challenge their teams to pursue continuous improvement. So even if it takes making several changes, finding the right fit is critical to one’s career. Just make sure you’re making a change for the right reason because our minds can trick us into convincing ourselves of a situation that’s not true.

No team operates without conflict, so proactively try to understand the root cause of the conflict by talking through it with the people involved to resolve it, rather than ignore or cause the conflict to fester. Always pursue making the team better by actively contributing to solving problems.  

No one ever gets better without stress. It is a critical key to our professional growth that most people want to avoid. Everyone needs to learn to manage stress but never to avoid it altogether. There is a limit but the more stress you take on, the more you’ll improve. Learn to enjoy working with people who require the most from you and who have high expectations from you. They see something within you that they are trying to develop.  

Lastly, those who I’ve seen succeed have always been business curious. Don’t ever stop asking questions. Always provide solutions to issues that exist or socialize potential solutions if you're not quite sure it’s the right one. Push to find the solutions to challenges and issues and never stop being able to adapt, especially when somebody gives you the advice to take a different path. Ask questions, find solutions, take initiative. 

Author: Supply Chain Scene