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Force for Good

2051 ambition: envisioning a future of well-being.

by Dirk Beveridge

As we traversed America throughout 2023, introducing the concept of Force For Good, the real-life stories behind distribution during the ‘We Supply America’ tour painted a vivid picture of an industry at a crossroads.

Drawing inspiration from Brian Johnson’s Heroic self-development program, which merges ancient wisdom with modern science, a profound alignment emerged with Martin Seligman’s vision in “Flourish” – to see 51% of the world’s population flourishing by 2051. This ambition resonates with our Force For Good movement, transforming businesses into platforms for enriching lives. Our goal is ambitious yet attainable: to ensure that 51% of the 6 million people in distribution careers are flourishing by 2051, through Positive Leadership rooted in the six domains of positive psychology.

The stark reality illuminated by Seligman’s GDP paradox, as explored previously, takes on heightened relevance in the distribution industry. Our latest ‘Future of Distribution’ report underlines compelling statistics: 82% of leaders face challenges in attracting and retaining crucial talent, spotlighting the need for transformative leadership approaches. The industry grapples with an aging workforce, diminishing interest in distribution careers, and escalating competition, symptomatic of evolving workforce expectations. Modern employees seek more than financial compensation; they desire purpose, significance, and belonging – aspects traditional business models often sideline.

This shift in employee aspirations necessitates a human-centric transformation in business operations. A staggering 71% of leaders now see the need for HR to evolve, focusing intensely on employee well-being and satisfaction. There’s a growing consensus that nurturing employee growth transcends job performance, encompassing their holistic development. An overwhelming 95% of leaders recognize the importance of supporting their employees’ personal and professional growth, acknowledging that fostering an environment where individuals thrive is integral to long-term organizational success.

CASE STUDY: NELSON JAMESON’S GOLDEN RULE LEGACY

Nelson Jameson, more than a company, is a legacy built on a Golden Rule: leaving the world better than found. Amanda Sasse, the fourth-generation owner, reflects on a mission statement crafted in 1947 that still resonates today: “Our Golden Rule is to leave our communities better than we found them.” This principle of human-centric leadership guides every aspect of Nelson Jameson’s operations, from customer interactions to employee engagement.

Carl Hamann’s story, evolving from electronic repair to a pivotal role over 27 years, mirrors the company’s expansion. “As the company grew, I grew with it. And as I grew, people grew with me,” he shares. This philosophy creates a synergy between individual and organizational growth, cultivating a workforce that is continually evolving, motivated, and deeply invested.

President Mike Rindy’s ethos of ‘being gooder’ stretches beyond company walls, influencing community, customer relationships, and team dynamics. This culture, where employees live for the work they do, has been integral to Nelson Jameson’s growth and enduring success.

Looking forward, the distribution industry faces new challenges and opportunities, especially in the realm of digital transformation and supply chain complexities. Positive Leadership not only addresses human aspects but also aligns with technological advancements, ensuring that operational efficiency and employee well-being go hand-in-hand.

PRACTICAL STEPS

To adopt Positive Leadership, leaders can start by:

(1) Conducting a comprehensive audit of current leadership practices and employee satisfaction.

(2) Engaging in open dialogues with employees about their aspirations, challenges, and perceptions of the workplace.

(3) Leveraging technology to enhance operational efficiency while also creating more employee-centric work environments.

(4) Regularly recognizing and celebrating employee achievements to foster a culture of acknowledgment and appreciation.

As the distribution industry evolves, adopting Positive Leadership is not just ethical but strategically imperative. This approach prepares organizations for future trends and challenges, ensuring they remain resilient, adaptable, and forward-thinking.

The journey toward our 2051 ambition starts with embedding Positive Leadership into our businesses. Join us in the Force For Good movement to redefine success in distribution, focusing on the well-being and growth of every industry individual.


Dirk Beveridge

Dirk Beveridge is the founder of UnleashWD, executive producer at We Supply America, president of the Beveridge Consulting Group, and champion for the noble calling of distribution for over 36 years. Read his new research report for more on how leadership is being redefined, and why it’s urgent to embrace the Noble Calling of leadership: Reimagining Leadership (https://unleashwd.com/fod-reimaginingleadership/).


This article originally appeared in the May/June 2024 issue of Industrial Supply magazine. Copyright 2024, Direct Business Media.

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