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Original post from Niels van Hove and Supply Chain Trend

In an extensive review of S&OP literature, Tuomikangas & Kaipia* suggest S&OP culture and leadership as one of six S&OP mechanisms to improve S&OP performance. According to them, this includes ‘the organizational mindsetand practices that facilitate and advance formal planning.’

Mental Toughness has been called ‘the mindset of the winner’ by Jim Loehr, a sport psychologist who first coined the term Mental Toughness. You might know that beside being a supply chain consultant, I’m a behavioural coach, with a focus on Mental Toughness. Previously, I’ve written a post on how Mental Toughness supports effective S&OP. And I wondered if this mindset of the winner has impact on S&OP effectiveness.

As I’m going through the results of my S&OP pulse check 2016, the answer appears to be; Yes, Mental Toughness does have an impact on S&OP effectiveness. Well, at least in the perception of my survey participants. First let’s recap what Mental Toughness is. Through his research, professor Peter Clough found four attributes that make up Mental Toughness; commitmentcontrolchallenge and confidence, also called the 4 C’s.

CommitmentI promise to do it. I’ll set a goal and do whatever it takes to deliver. 

This attribute measures how and why we set goals and also how we respond to them when faced with tough and unyielding deadlines.

Control: I really believe I can do it. I keep my emotions in check when doing it.

There are two sub attributes to control. Emotional control, where the high scoring individual keep their anxiety in check and life control, where the high scoring thinks they are in control of their life and are pro-active.

Challenge: I’m driven to do it, I will take a chance and acceptable risk. Setbacks make me stronger. 

This attribute addresses how we, as individuals, respond to change. Do we embrace change or do we prefer to minimize exposure to change and prefer to work in stable environments?

Confidence: I believe I have the ability to do it. I can stand my ground if I need to.This attribute measures the extent to which we have self-belief in our abilities and interpersonal confidence, to see through to a difficult task that can be beset with setbacks

Research shows that the mentally tough are mentally and physically healthier, perform better, make better decisions under stress plus a whole range of other benefits in personal and business life.

I asked my survey participants first if they thought they had an effective S&OP process or not. Then I asked them questions on how they perceive stake holder commitment, willingness to change, emotional control, pro-activeness and willingness to challenge each other and the status quo.


In the graph you can see that business environments with (self-proclaimed) effective S&OP processes, show significant higher levels of agreement with statements about:

stake holder commitment:  88% of effective S&OP agrees, versus 42% others

leadership willingness to change: 88% of effective S&OP agrees, versus 33% others

emotional control during meetings: 69% of effective S&OP agrees, versus 42% others

pro-active cross functional engagement: 69% of effective S&OP agrees, versus 45% others

challenging each other and the status quo: 85% of effective S&OP, versus 36% others

Survey participants who think they have an effective S&OP process, clearly see evidence around them of these behaviours that make them agree with the statements. And they do so between 50% and 170% (for willingness to change) more than survey participants who didn’t score their S&OP as effective. I think this is the first data of this kind. It  is powerful insight, reconfirming that behaviours and mindset are related to effective S&OP.

But we all knew this already didn’t we? Still, only 26% of survey participants thinks that behaviours are addressed enough. Maybe let’s make it our new year resolution to start seriously addressing this and make behavioural competence part of our S&OP maturity. Rest me to wish you all the best for 2017 and may Mental Toughness be with you.