AutoCulture 2.0: Shifting Leadership and Culture in the Auto Supply Chain

AutoCulture 2.0: Shifting Leadership and Culture in the Auto Supply Chain

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In this episode of the Auto Supply Chain Prophets podcast, hosts Terry Onica and Jan Griffiths switch things up as Terry interviews Jan about her new book, AutoCulture 2.0. The conversation starts with Jan sharing the intense yet fulfilling journey of launching her book, which has already reached number one in Amazon's leadership category.

Jan explains that her book is designed to drive a much-needed cultural shift in the auto industry. She stresses that while the industry is buzzing with technological transformations like EV adoption and smart cities, the focus must also be on evolving leadership and culture to match this rapid change. 

Terry and Jan delve into the importance of effective communication and stakeholder buy-in for successful change initiatives. They highlight how a collaborative approach, rather than a command-and-control style, can drive better results and innovation within the supply chain.

The discussion also touches on personal stories that shaped their leadership styles. Jan shares how her father's farming background and pub negotiations subtly taught her invaluable leadership and negotiation skills. Terry recalls the lessons her father imparted, emphasizing the profound impact fathers can have on their daughters' careers.

The episode wraps up with Jan advising listeners to reflect on their own leadership identity and values. She encourages leaders to be clear and intentional about who they are, which will, in turn, help inspire and guide their teams more effectively.

Themes discussed in this episode:

  • The crucial role of education in preparing students for the automotive industry
  • Utilizing technology such as ERP systems and digital tools for effective supply chain management
  • The necessity of continuous improvement and optimization in supply chain processes
  • The need for new leadership models and workplace culture to handle the automotive industry's rapid transformation
  • How many change initiatives fail due to poor leadership and lack of stakeholder buy-in
  • The importance of collaboration and communication within the supply chain
  • The effectiveness and drawbacks of the traditional command-and-control leadership style
  • Family influence on personal and professional development
  • Why self-awareness is important for effective leadership

Featured on this episode: 

Name: Jan Griffiths

Title: President and Founder, Gravitas Detroit 

About: Jan is the architect of cultural change in the automotive industry. As the President & Founder of Gravitas Detroit, Jan brings a wealth of expertise and a passion for transforming company cultures. Additionally, she is the host of the Automotive Leaders Podcast, where she shares insightful conversations with industry visionaries. Jan is also the author of AutoCulture 2.0, a groundbreaking book that challenges the traditional leadership model prevalent in the automotive world. With her extensive experience and commitment to fostering positive change, Jan is at the forefront of revolutionizing the automotive landscape.

Connect: LinkedIn

Mentioned in this episode:

Episode Highlights:

[04:15] Book Overview: Jan dives into the book, emphasizing how important it is to match the culture of the automotive industry with its technological advancements. 

[05:35] Technology and Culture: Jan discusses the critical link between technology adoption and organizational culture, highlighting how effective leadership and cultural alignment can mitigate the high failure rate of technology initiatives.

[08:57] Command and Control: Discussing common pitfalls, Jan explains why change initiatives often fail due to ineffective leadership and insufficient stakeholder engagement, highlighting the importance of buy-in and communication.

[13:26] Make Them Understand: OEM mandates like MMOG/LE and EDI add savings at all levels; still, resistance often comes from a lack of understanding. Jan emphasizes that effective leadership means setting strategy and inspiring teams rather than micromanaging.

[18:13] The Toyota Way: Highlighting Toyota's coaching mindset, they discuss the importance 

of nurturing supplier relationships and working collaboratively to achieve the best business outcomes rather than focusing solely on penalties and blame.

[20:31] Parental Influence: Reflecting on childhood experiences, Jan and Terry share insights into the profound impact of parental guidance and influence on their personal and professional development.

[23:18] Jan's Advice: Terry asks Jan for one actionable takeaway for listeners. Jan's advice: "Ask yourself, who are you as a leader?"

Top Quotes:

[03:28] Jan: “What really matters, and the reason I wrote the book, is to impact an entire industry. So, the question now is not how many books are we selling. It is what people are doing with these books. It's written in a way so that leaders in the auto industry can use it as a tool to open up dialogue about culture and about leadership. So, that's what I want to see, Terry. The real impact that we're going to feel in the industry.”

[04:26] Jan: “We know the automotive industry right now is going through a massive transformation: EV adoption, we talk about batteries, we talk about technology, we talk about autonomous driving, smart cities, and on and on. We talk about this all day long, but what we're not talking about is the people and the culture required to go along with this change. Think about it this way. You wouldn't try to run a 4k video on a Windows 95 operating system. So, what makes you think that we can run this industry with the massive transformation that's going through right now, all the technology, the speed and agility that's required, the innovation, and on and on?”

[22:55] Terry: “One of the things I want to tell the listeners today, especially the men out there, is don't underestimate the impact that you can make on your daughters. You can teach them to be very successful women, and it's just amazing what you can do in their life.”

[23:31] Jan: “Ask yourself this question: who are you as a leader? So often, Terry, we can't answer that question, and if you don't know who you are as a leader, how do you expect other people to support you and follow you? You've got to know who you are as a leader. What do you stand for? What are your values? What is the culture that you want with your team and in your company? Answer that question.”


Delivering on the Promise of Delivery: Automotive Sustainability and Profitability

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White Paper for Leveraging Risk Management in Automotive

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Operational Restart Readiness

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The 24 Essential Supply Chain

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Keep in touch with Auto Supply Chain Prophet's co-hosts Terry Onica and Jan Griffiths on LinkedIn.


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