Developing Mental Toughness in the Supply Chain

Mental Toughness is a personality trait which is emerging as the key to understanding how people respond to and perform under stress, pressure and challenge. Mental Toughness explains up to 25% in the variation of an individual’s performance.  It is also a significant factor in individual and team well-being.

Mental Toughness is a personal trait that can be taught, but also an organizational capability, as I explained in a recent LinkedIn post. And more than ever, in our the Volatile Uncertain Complex and Ambiguous world of Supply Chain management, we need resilience. Indeed, Mental Toughness for Supply Chain teams is becoming a key requirement to effectively handle the day to day Supply Chain pressures like:

  • Customer demands (in Australia major retailers require up to 98.5% service).
  • Supply chain complexity through outsourcing, mergers and acquisitions.
  • Industry consolidation and dealing with multiple cultures and behaviours.
  • Shortening life cycles as innovation is needed to make a point of difference.
  • Growing product portfolio’s, with a growing almost unmanageable tail.
  • Cross functional communication and issue resolution.

Mental Tough individuals and teams look forward to challenges, stay confident and focused on their tasks and deal positively with setbacks to deliver on their commitments, whilst keeping their emotions in check. Mental Tough individuals bring their A game to work every day and learn from their mistakes.

Mental Toughness can now be measured on individual and team level. Professor Peter Clough developed the MTQ48, the world’s first valid and reliable psychometric questionnaire for Mental Toughness. Clough is chair in Applied Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University and a world-leading academic in applied psychology.The on-line 48 question survey is easy and take less than 10 minutes to complete.

Mental Toughness 4

Can Mental Toughness be developed in your Supply Chain team? Yes it can! You need four steps:

  1.  Increase your understanding of the concept of Mental Toughness. Learn the definition, its history and its application.
  2. Take the MTQ48 survey, understand your Mental Toughness and your individual and team improvement opportunities.
  3. Understand tools and techniques to improve Mental Toughness and learn what the Mental Tough do in real life situation.
  4. Aspire to become more Mental Tough, set goals to improve, use the tools and techniques, change your habits and hold yourself accountable, or use a coach to do so.

In Australia where I reside, I now give workshops to introduce teams to the concept, measure their Mental Toughness and coach on tools and techniques to improve individual and team Mental Toughness. Some Supply Chain directors, the early adopters, immediately have seen the importance of building this team capability in order to support a resilient supply chain. My advice; don’t be a laggard and wait until your competitor starts to build a more resilient and high performing Supply Chain team.

Niels van Hove has 18 years international Supply Chain experience and is an accredited master trainer in Mental Toughness. He runs Mental Toughness team workshops in Australia.

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