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Podcast: Paving a Unique Pathway to COO, with BODYARMOR Sports Nutrition COO, Felix Faulhaber

By Published On: October 3, 2023

Hosts: Rodney Apple and Chris Gaffney

In This Episode:

We speak with Felix Faulhaber, Chief of Operations for BodyArmor Sports Nutrition, where he oversees end-to-end operations to facilitate the rapid growth of the BODYARMOR and POWERADE brands. Felix begins by discussing his career evolution from consulting to operations and shares his perspective on career planning—particularly emphasizing the value of conversing with others to refine your vision. Moreover, he reflects on how his international experiences have enriched his own career. Felix also underscores the importance of building relationships and the skill of clear communication, tailored distinctively to various individuals. He offers insights into achieving transformation success by setting priorities, securing buy-in, and presenting key career questions everyone should consider. Furthermore, Felix explores his strategies for managing the inevitable frustrations of supply chain logistics and shares his ideal ratio of good to bad days. He concludes by highlighting the significant value that operations bring to organizations and consumers.

Who is Felix Faulhaber?

Felix is the Chief of Operations for BODYARMOR Sports Nutrition, where he is responsible for the end-to-end operations, including Procurement, Planning, Manufacturing, Logistics and Quality to enable rapid growth of both the BODYARMOR and POWERADE brands.

His prior experience is centered around driving transformational change in supply chain and other business functions in a number of companies ranging from startups to large corporations across Europe, Africa, North America and Asia, both in operating roles and as a consultant at McKinsey.

[00:00:00] Mike Ogle: Welcome to the supply chain careers podcast. The only podcast for job seekers, professionals, and students who are focused on career enhancing conversations and insights across all aspects of the supply chain discipline. This podcast is made possible by SCM talent group, the industry leading supply chain executive search firm.

Visit scmtalentgroupatscmtalent. com to search for or to post supply chain jobs. Visit the Supply Chain Job Board at supplychaincareers. com. Are you tired of struggling to optimize your supply chain? Look no further than ProfitPoint. The experts in supply chain network design and technology integration solutions.

Visit ProfitPoint. com to learn more. That’s ProfitPT. com. In this episode of the Supply Chain Careers podcast, we speak with Felix Fallhaber, Chief of Operations for Body Armor Sports Nutrition, where he is responsible for end to end operations to enable rapid growth of the body armor and power aid brands.

Felix starts with his career evolution from consulting to operations and shares his perspective on career planning, particularly the value of talking to others to refine your vision, plus how his international experiences helped his own career. Felix also emphasizes the value of building relationships and communicating clearly to different people in different ways.

He provides his thoughts on transformation success through setting priorities and getting buy in. He provides his top career questions.Then Felix discusses his ways of coping with the inevitable frustrations of the supply chain and his ideal good days to bad days ratio. He closes by emphasizing the value of operations to organizations and consumers.

[00:01:56] Rodney Apple: I’m your podcast co host, Rodney Apple

[00:01:58] Chris Gaffney: And I’m your podcast co host, Chris Gaffney.

[00:02:03] Rodney Apple: Welcome to the Supply Chain Careers Podcast. Felix, thank you so much for joining us today.

[00:02:08] Felix Faulhaber: Of course, it’s a pleasure.

[00:02:11] Chris Gaffney: Felix great to have the chance to learn a little bit more about your journey. You’ve done a number of wonderful things and you’ve got your hands in some big stuff, but I’d love to start at the beginning.

So would you give our audience a bit of a perspective around how did your career evolve even back to school and the whole idea of getting into this field of supply chain and then actually jumping in?

[00:02:37] Felix Faulhaber: Yeah, of course. I think like many people, when I went to school, I really had no idea what I wanted to do.

So I studied international business. I thought that was a little bit dry and theoretical. So I threw in some aerospace engineering to get a bit more technical and enjoyed that, but still wasn’t sure that I wanted to go into the operations space. I went and started in consulting as a generalist. And during the time in consulting, I spent a total of five and a half years in consulting.

And during the time in consulting early on, I realized that operations is really what I enjoyed. So I did a bit of operations where I did a bit of strategy work and just realized that I like the hands on stuff. I like making things happen and it all evolved from there. So once I started realizing I enjoyed that, I did more work in consulting, in the operations space.

And that’s when it crystallized more and more that I wanted my longer term career to be in that space. So when I decided to leave consulting, I started looking for roles that are at least related to the operations field. Now, my first role out of consulting was in the beverage industry. It wasn’t actually a real supply chain role.

I would say it was the interface. Of a marketing and supply chain role. It’s, it was called design to value was all about figuring out how to make things that consumers value the most in the most cost effective way. So interacting with both the brand teams and the operation side. And again, I realized that the operation space is just something I like.

And for me, what was important then was, and I always did this. I wanted to make sure I had a, I started to have a long term kind of vision of where I wanted to go career wise. Right. So. When you look at the individual steps, they look almost a little bit erratic sometimes in terms of where I went from where to where, but what was important to me is that it all started to go towards that vision of, Hey, what I’m excited about is becoming a CEO at some point.

And I figured I need to take roles that are going to add value towards that destination. And so from the beverage industry, larger company. I ended up going into a startup that was a tech startup, but took a supply chain role and advanced analytics. And so it was a, a great interface of bringing the tech side of analytics side together with the upside, which again, I thought was going to give me long term a little bit of an edge on.

Thinking through how technology can really add value on the operation side. And then back into CPG from there and really started the journey much deeper than into the operation space. I actually moved over to Asia to take a very much in depth operations roles. I led the supply chain for APAC for that company in Asia.

And then most recently came back in the beverage industry and now obviously as a CEO, fully embedded in the operation space. But if you look at it, I would say it’s a very non traditional route into getting to a COO role and getting deep into the operation space. And part of it is because it started with, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I figured it out as I went and as I started realizing what I enjoy.

Created that long term vision and then started moving towards roles that added value to that long term vision.

[00:05:57] Rodney Apple: That’s fascinating, Felix. And for our audience, I just did a presentation and we talked about career development planning. This was for one of the supply chain associations recently and for their audience.

And could you talk about that and how you formulated it, adjusted it? Did you have something down in writing? Cause I asked the audience who has a written career plan and it was like. Two people raised their hand, which I thought was a bit disappointing. I feel like you need to have a written plan.

Anything you could share there that helped guide you down that

[00:06:28] Felix Faulhaber: path? Yeah, I think probably two things. The, the one thing that I found talking with many people, not, not just in operators, just many professionals. What I find is. Surprisingly few people have that long term vision of like, where do I want to be when I’m 10 years, 15 years, 20 years?

And it doesn’t, in my mind, it doesn’t even have to be a specific role. It just has to be like, what, what do I want to be when I grow up as a person, as a leader, what is the rough space that I want to be playing in? What’s the size of the company that I want to be playing and that kind of stuff. Just have a view if it’s written down, or if it’s in your mind, I like having things in my mind.

So I frankly don’t write stuff like that down very much, but I always had that in the back of my mind and said, here’s where I want to go now that, by the way, that vision probably changed. 10 times in 10 years, right? So it’s not, it doesn’t stay the same, but it gives you a, an anchor point, in my opinion, that you make sure that the journey you’re on.

It’s going into some destination. I always, always talk to folks that I work with. If you don’t have that destination, you might be running in circles and you might not even know it. Right. So, so that’s the first piece is really, I feel very strongly about having that long term vision and always thinking through does this next step that I’m thinking about make sense towards that long term vision.

If the answer is no, should I change my long term vision? If the answer to that is no, again, then it’s what’s next step doesn’t probably make the perfect sense, right? The second piece of advice I would have or thought I would have is don’t be shy testing that long term thinking and your journey with people you respect, right?

So for me, the role of the role of mentors, the role of people that just you work with or otherwise. That you have a lot of respect for and you think their journey is fascinating and their journey is an aspiration for yourself or an inspiration to yourself. It’s great to get feedback from people who have been on a journey like that, because sometimes I might develop a vision and I might start testing with somebody like, man, you’re a delusional, right?

That you think that’s going to happen in 10 years. You’re talking about a 20 year journey here, right? So adjust your thinking or Hey, have you thought about this? Have you thought about which industry you want to be in? Does it matter to you? Maybe not, but really, the second piece again is around don’t be shy, find those people that you trust, find those people that inspire you and have those conversations very explicitly.

I know often people don’t want to bother others with their personal kind of stuff. What I find is if you find the right people that have an interest in your development or just in general people development, they actually enjoy having these conversations and they appreciate these conversations. And so I would just encourage everybody have those conversations, use them to refine your own vision, your own path, and then just go on a journey and see where it leads you.

[00:09:26] Rodney Apple: That’s excellent advice. Thank you.

[00:09:28] Chris Gaffney: So Felix, many in our audience are students or those young in their career. And obviously we have a supply chain focused audience. So when they think about rungs on their career ladder, they will think about working in consulting. They will think about the potential to work for a global business, a globally known brand.

They will think about working in a startup, and many will aspire for global roles or international experience. You’ve been able to hit those marks. And I guess what I would say for our audience is if you could think about it like a video game, at each level you grab some different tools or things to help you with the journey.

Can you think of one kind of key jewel that you grabbed in each of those experiences that might, might have helped you be ready for the role that you possess today?

[00:10:21] Felix Faulhaber: Yeah, that’s a really interesting question because I think often people think about, Oh, this is the best journey. This is the only one that adds value, whatever.

And I agree with you. There’s, there are real insights to grab in all of these, right? So if I look back, I think consulting to me is very clearly what I would call the. Basic toolkit of problem solving. So how do you approach a problem, dissect the problem, think about solving it in pieces. So it doesn’t become overwhelming, right?

Cut through the chase or cut to the chase and then start prioritizing and get stuff done. But it’s really, I would say. There’s a lot of value in consulting. Just getting that basic toolkit developed and getting used to working that way. I it’s a, it’s a fun anecdote. Um, and I’m not sure if people really care or not, but it’s, it’s so ingrained in me that when I talk to my wife and she’s used to it by now, but in the beginning, She would tell me a story and she would just start telling a story, right?

Like a normal person tells a story and I would stop her. I was like, can you please tell me why you’re telling me the story? Because if you don’t, I don’t know where to categorize it. So the whole top down communication and the way of top down thinking. It’s so ingrained in my brain by now that I use it everywhere, right?

I use it in my personal life. I use it in my professional life. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good, but it is in the work environment. For sure. It’s very helpful when you think about communicating with senior leaders and so on. So that’s the consulting piece. Going to the large international corporation, I would say that the biggest piece of learning for me there is really how to navigate a complex environment, like a complex matrix organization, because in consulting, what’s easy, and I think I never appreciated that before I left consulting, is you have all the focus in the world on the specific project.

When you come in as a consultant, there’s very senior alignment that this is the big priority. Everybody needs to work on this. And so you have very rarely an issue in getting people bought into spending time and effort on something. Now, then suddenly you become part of a big organization and you’re just a part of it.

You’re not the special consultant that comes from the side that costs a boatload of money. And so now you have to learn to get people to buy into what you want to do so that they choose to support it rather than forcing them to support you essentially, right? And it’s a very different skill set. And so for me, that was, that was big value in, in learning, how do you navigate that building those relationships and making sure that you really can communicate very clearly what is in it for the company, but also what is in it for the individuals that are working on this effort.

So that there’s a personal interest in making sure they support that effort that you’re working on and you want them to support. So that’s, I would say the biggest learning in my mind from the big company environment. And then the startup world is just a whole different animal. It’s fun. It’s chaotic. So for me there, it’s all about how do you move at an incredible speed?

How do you use technology to enable some of that? Because you don’t have all the resources that a big company has, or even in consulting that you have available to you. And so you have to start working really smartly around using what you either already have or not have, don’t have yet. But how do you develop a how do you develop quick tools that help you to become more efficient that help you do things fast because you just don’t have time, right?

There’s no time is not your friend in a startup. And so you have to really figure out what’s the best way to move incredibly fast. And how do you make that work? So if you, if you boil it down to one each, I think those would be my three and their respective industry categories.

[00:14:26] Chris Gaffney: Now I will follow up Felix because the international thing I think is also really relevant if you do business in one part of the world and then have to say, what’s my agility to deal with cultural differences and consumer differences, et cetera.

What did you take away from the international experience? And it might be professional and personal given where you were in timing and such.

[00:14:47] Felix Faulhaber: Yeah, so it’s an interesting one, right? Because my journey started in Germany, right? I moved, I moved from Germany, South Africa, lived in South Africa for five years, then moved to the U.

S. Um, stayed here for initially eight years, moved over to Singapore and then came back. So the move to Singapore was the only one that I had internationally with, uh, with a large company outside of consulting, if you will, But I’ve done a few moves already, so I think it’s easy for me to underestimate the, the benefit and the, the size of the change that you really, the magnitude of the change that you really go through.

But look, I think international experiences is opening a whole different kind of skillset in you to, to your point, going somewhere where you don’t know the cultural norms. When I got to Singapore, I’d never lived in Asia before I’ve been there, but I’ve never lived in Asia before. There’s a whole set of cultural norms that I didn’t know, right?

Work environment, working norms are very different. Working styles are very different. So I do think if you have a chance to do it. I can only recommend it. Frankly, I see very little downside. Now you might have a choice if you want to do it long term or shorter term or whatever it might be, and that’s a personal choice, but from a professional standpoint, the learning, frankly, probably the learning in Singapore I had was the biggest just because Asia operates.

At such a different pace than, than the Western world, right? Europe or North America. And so it was really eye opening to go there and see the teams in China. China in particular for our business was just absolutely fascinating. How fast and how almost effortless they moved through innovation, moved through launching new products.

It was almost real time. It was crazy to see. On a personal level, it just adds so much. My kids are five and seven. Now, when we moved, they were one and three. And it’s fun to see now that we are back, and they’re old enough to realize this move. They have such a great perspective on things, right? So they remember Singapore, and they say, Oh, why is this different here?

Why are we doing things like this here? And why didn’t we do them like that in Singapore? It’s just, it’s fun to see that growth from a personal standpoint, frankly, also for me personally. And I think it just adds so much value, both personally and professionally, that if there is an opportunity, I think.

Everybody should go grab it and then decide if they want to do a longer term or not, but at least for a period of time, if it’s feasible, go do it

[00:17:23] Mike Ogle: During this short break, we recognize that this podcast is made possible by SCM talent group, the industry leading supply chain executive search firm visit SCM talent group. At SCM talent dot com to search for or to post supply chain jobs, visit the supply chain job board at supply chain careers dot com.

Are you tired of struggling to optimize your supply chain? Look no further than profit point to be experts in supply chain network design and technology integration solutions. Visit profit point dot com to learn more. That’s profit

[00:18:02] Rodney Apple: Felix I’ve got your LinkedIn profile pulled up over here and it’s all nice.

So you work for arguably one of the leading strategic, uh, consulting firms in the world, and you had that strategy, strategic title pepper throughout your background and would love to hear. That’s one thing we haven’t talked about the world of really. Developing these strategies and these roadmaps. It looks like you’ve been involved with some big transformation type work as well.

A lot of people think that’s the sexy stuff. It’s fun to work on, but we also know that the big challenge is, is moving the organization down that path. These can be multi year journeys. A lot of change needs to take place across the workforce. Anything you could touch on there?

[00:18:48] Felix Faulhaber: Yeah, transformations. I love transformations because I believe there’s so much opportunity that’s still out there that, um, that hasn’t been tapped on.

And so, so I just think it’s a ton of fun to work on it, right? Now, it being a ton of fun working on it doesn’t mean, to your point, it doesn’t mean you just go in, you dream up something and suddenly magically it happens. That would be nice, but also frankly, a little bit boring because it would be too easy.

Look, the way I think about, again, the, the, the two parts of that journey almost, right? In consulting, you learn a lot about how do you develop these strategies? How do you develop these roadmaps? And there are very specific toolkits. Frankly, you can Google them. Every consulting firm has their own, right?

But it’s a basic toolkit of how do I think through developing this roadmap? And how do I think through? Making a big change for a company or designing the future vision for a company. One thing that I haven’t touched on yet that I will say in consulting that I learned is one of the things that companies really can use help on and need help with is.

Just prioritization. A lot of times the knowledge of what needs to happen is spread across the organization, right? And so you, you often hear people joke about consultants just come in, they ask you a bunch of questions, they put in a PowerPoint presentation, and then they say, look what we developed. And there’s frankly, there’s some truth to it.

The difference is they go talk to 30 people. And then they say, Hey, here’s, here are the key elements of what I heard from all these 30 people. And therefore here are your five priorities, dear company, whatever company it is, that you need to be prioritizing and you need to be working on. And so now instead of having 78 different things that people think are the most important things in the organization.

And everybody is, we need to work on my A team rather than the others. Now you have a clear set of the other priorities. And so again, that to go back to the question that kind of really core skill set of developing the transformation roadmap, if you will, really happens in consulting or came from me from consulting, at least.

What you don’t get in consulting, at least what I didn’t get in consulting, and what I only developed later on, especially in the larger companies, is the, as I alluded to a little bit earlier, is that how do you then make that work? And how do you Actually get the company to buy into it, not just the company, but the people in the company.

And I’ve thought about this in the years that I’ve been working, uh, frankly, in almost every interview, because in my, in my resume, it says transformation almost everywhere. So in almost every interview, people ask me, how do you do that? And often I get asked, you’re pretty young. How do you make sure people don’t look at you in a cynical way and say, here comes the guy.

Things he knows everything, frankly, my response to that is, is usually pretty simple. It’s, I don’t know everything. And I think it’s important to come, especially when you go on a transformation journey, it can’t be your transformation journey. It can’t be you coming in, no matter who you are, it can’t be you coming in and say, here is what it is.

No discussion. Everybody go in that direction. Have fun. Nobody will follow. Nobody’s going to do it. And so humility. Is a really powerful tool. And I think it’s a, it’s an often forgotten tool. And when I say tool, I don’t mean this in an artificial way. It is in a real way, right? Coming in and saying, look, there are some things I know.

And there’s some things I don’t know. And frankly, especially if you come to a new organization or a new role, the biggest thing you don’t know is I don’t know the company, right? The company. So help me understand how does this company work? Where is it coming from? What are some of the important things that I need to know about the company?

And then bring that together and say, look, here’s something I’ve seen in the past. Here’s how I’m thinking about how this could work. What are the limitations to work together with the other people that are around to develop? Again, I refer to it back to the vision, right? Develop that vision jointly. And it takes longer, by the way.

It’s not, it’s much faster if you come in and you say, here are the five topics. This is where we’re going to go. It takes, it’s much faster to do that. The problem is you won’t get there most likely. So I’m a big believer in spend more time early on, make sure you develop it together. It might not be the 100 percent answer that you wanted to get to.

It might be the 90 percent answer. And that’s fine because the 90 percent answer is still 90 percent progress versus where the company is today. And so get that 90 percent or even if it’s 80 percent or if it’s 5%, it’s a different problem, but it’s 80%, 90 percent get the 80, 90 percent first. And then once you’re there and you start seeing some wins with the organization, with the people, you, the more wins you start seeing, the more buying you get.

So once you start on that journey, you start seeing the progress, people start understanding and realizing, Hey, there’s real value. I can see it in the KPIs. I can see it in. how people talk about the operations function, how people think about the operations function, I’m talking about the other functions, right?

Um, Once people start seeing that progress, then it’s much easier to say, okay, now let’s talk about the last 10 or 20 percent because now people have started believing into the direction of the destination you’re going. So it’s, again, to me, it’s not rocket science. It’s not, I’m not, I’m very bad at Ikea 15 frameworks and like do this, if this and whatever, I don’t think it’s cookie cutter, it’s, it’s people, right?

And so you have to figure out kind of how do you make sure you work right, the right way with the people. And if you don’t bring the people along, frankly, I think you’re going to struggle.

[00:24:44] Rodney Apple: Good stuff. It is about the people.

[00:24:48] Chris Gaffney: Felix, you and I have known each other for a long time, and we’ve talked through many of the things as you live them.

Not everything goes perfect in a career plan. And it may look very exotic and wonderful, but along the way, it doesn’t always play out maybe the way you hoped. And so when you get to some of these. Kind of milestones or, or forks in the road where this is not playing out the way I hoped it would, then you’ve got to do something different.

You don’t have to be specific at all, but how have you navigated when those things have come up to say, I’m going to stand and fight and sort this out and, or at some point, try to influence change and, or at some point say time to do something different. As you’ve been through those, how do you think about those now and along the way?

[00:25:33] Felix Faulhaber: Yeah, that’s a great question. I’m going to give you the most German engineering answer that you can possibly imagine. To me, it’s all about probabilities of success, right? I’ve had many of those, right? Frankly, in consulting, there are projects you work on where it’s just like, Oh my goodness, what am I doing here?

Now there are other projects where you’re super excited, but, but you have both, right, big company, when I first joined, the big company kind of environment. If you go look at my LinkedIn, I was there for a very short time, right? I’ve played both sides. And to me, it was all about looking at the overall situation and saying.

Again, going back to a few different things I’ve already mentioned a bit, at least one, what’s the probability I can stay here and play out this role or multiple other roles towards the personal vision that I have for myself. So what do I think is the likelihood that I’m going to be able to add more value to my personal journey?

That’s question number one to me, obviously. Number two is, what do I think is the likelihood that the company, even start with the department maybe you’re in, right? Depending on how big the company is, but what’s the likelihood that the department or the company is going to have a willingness or desire to change in a direction that I can believe in.

And so this is where maybe I’m a bit unique. I have a very strong drive towards having to believe into what the company does or what at least my team does, right? If I don’t believe in it, I really struggle to motivate myself. If I believe in it, I’m all in. And so it’s, it’s a funny anecdote. Whenever I join a company, obviously, when I joined the company, I believe in it.

I’m fully in, I’m all in. It drives my wife crazy because I’m like, we only buying the products from this company now. I don’t want anything else anymore. She’s come on, man. But you can’t do that from one day to the next. I’m like, yeah, that’s exactly how this is going to work. But that’s, that’s when I believe in the company or I believe in the mission or vision of the company.

I’m all in, right? And then I’m going to give it my all and look, there will be times when the company might move in a direction that I’m not fully aligned with, but I think there is a way to influence and that’s when I’m going to go pick the fight, right? To me again, it ends up coming all back to the game of probabilities.

What is the probability that I can take this in the direction that I think is the right direction? And what do I think about Frankie comes back a little bit also to the leadership, the leadership, right? What do I think is the willingness and openness of the leadership to have to have conversations? And by the way, that doesn’t mean that it always has to go my way.

That’s not at all what I’m saying, because frankly, if you do that, your career is over very fast. But it is about, can we have a conversation so either I can understand why it’s going in a direction that I currently don’t understand. And if I can understand, I can, at least I can relate to it. That’s fine.

I might not agree with it, but then I understand where it’s coming from. And if that’s a, in my opinion, it’s a logical, rational approach that I might have a different conclusion on, totally fine. I’m still going to go all in because then I believe in it. I understand now why we’re going. If it’s more of a case where, it goes back to what I was saying earlier, where you have leaders in place that just say, this is where we’re going, no discussion, we’re done.

And it’s not where I want to be going or where I think is the right direction. And I don’t feel like I can have that conversation. I think that for me is the time to say, this is probably not the right place for me to live out the rest of my career.

[00:29:13] Chris Gaffney: I will ask a follow up to your German engineering answer.

No matter who you are, there is emotion when these things start to play out in a different way. How have you learned how to process that emotion effectively in these situations?

[00:29:29] Felix Faulhaber: Yeah, it’s a good question. Getting frustrated is very normal. It happens to all of us. If anybody says they’re not getting frustrated, I think they’re lying, right, to be honest.

So, I think you have to find, one, I think you have to find a coping mechanism, right? For me, it’s sports. I always feel better when I do a workout, whatever it is, a run, I box. If I go boxing, if I go for a run, if I do a workout in the gym, whatever it is, I always feel better, right? So, having a coping mechanism, I think, is very important.

I think the second piece is, again, to, to me, at least it’s don’t bottle it up, right? Find the people you trust and, and talk about it because by the way, you might be frustrated because of something you’re doing yourself and you just have a blind spot. And so talking through it with somebody and ideally somebody who’s not involved.

So don’t go to your colleague and start complaining about what the company is doing, because while You know what you’re going to get? You’re going to get a, a session of complaining and everybody agrees that it’s horrible, right? And you’re not feeling any better at the end of it. Actually, you feel worse, but find somebody who’s outside of the situation and say, can I bounce the situation off you?

I can, I just want to put things into perspective and talk through it and say, can you give me your thoughts? Like, well, how does this look like from the outside? Is there something I can do is just get additional insights now. That requires you to get over the emotional response of I’m just going to go and scream into a black hole because I’m so upset.

So you have to process that first before you can take the next step and think through how do you turn this from a frustrating situation to either a personal learning opportunity or into something where you can actually influence the company into a direction that you want to be going. But I think that is critically important.

If you don’t make that step and you just stay frustrated. It’s just not enjoyable, right? Now one big learning I had in consulting. I still live by it. You’ll have good days. You’ll have bad days Set a percentage for yourself that you say As long as my good days are x percent of my total time I’m happy, right?

So I’m consulting. I had a 50 50 split as long as I’m happy. 50 percent of the time, by the way, I don’t recommend a 50 50 split, but I was saying back then I was saying, as long as I’m happy, 50 percent of the time I can do this, I can push through and then when I left something had changed right now, I’m more in the kind of 70 30 range, right?

As long as my good days are 70 percent of the, of the time I’m good because one thing you realize No place, no company, no job, no situation, personal or professional. You will be happy 100 percent of the time. It just doesn’t exist. And the faster you make peace with that fact, the faster you can think about turning frustrating situations into something that you take and learn from rather than just get frustrated from.

[00:32:25] Chris Gaffney: Super. Thanks for that. So,

[00:32:27] Rodney Apple: Felix, getting into the senior executive ranks, we know a lot of it is, it’s not all about what, it’s who in your network and those that help build you up over your career and advocate for you as well. Are there any particular influencers, mentors, coaches that you’d want to call out that kind of helped, helped you along the career journey that you’ve had to the senior executive role you’re in now?

[00:32:52] Felix Faulhaber: Yeah, there are quite a few. One, frankly, is here, Chris. Chris has been a great sounding board for me in many ways. And so I’ve always appreciated the conversations. There are a few others from McKinsey. One of them is called Matt Yelkin, one of the best people I’ve worked with. Just great guy. And along the way, there have been more and more.

Chris knows Mark Shaughnessy. I’ve spent a lot of time working with him. And then more recently, in my last company, Aaron Powell was… A guy who helped me think through and facilitated the move to Singapore, which was just, as I mentioned earlier, this is a great experience and added both personally and professionally so much.

So frankly, if I start list, if I start going down the list too far, I’m going to be here for another two hours. I think to me, the biggest advice, if it matters for the folks that listen on how to think through mentors is actually don’t think about people as mentors, think about people as people. And so to me, the people that added the most to my career.

When I initially started talking to them, I wasn’t thinking about, Oh, wow, I’m going to need to find a mentor now who’s going to, is going to add a ton of value to my career because it becomes such a functional relationship at that point that it doesn’t really, it doesn’t really help right to me. It happens to be the people.

I just enjoyed the company of these people. I enjoy talking to these people. Frankly, I consider all of them personal friends, right? And to me, I think there’s this mentorship approach. It’s almost been taken too far in some people’s minds. I think where people are trying to force a mentorship relationship rather than just taking a bit more naturally and say, Hey, look, like he’s a person.

I think that person is One, an inspirational leader, two, a very nice person. And so I just want to talk to this person. And, and then that might or might not develop into something longer term where you stay in touch, but it, you can’t plan it all out. I think you just have to take it as it goes. And I’ve been very fortunate with some of the people that I’ve been able to stay in touch with.

And yeah, it’s, I enjoy talking to all of them. Whenever I have a chance to good stuff,

[00:34:59] Chris Gaffney: Felix, we usually close with the general kind of perspective on advice. And so I think we asked this question in different ways, and you may have the same answer. You may have different. So if you think about best advice you have received or advice you most commonly offer.

To those who you lead or one that, that I’ve always thought interesting is what is, what was your advice or what would your advice be to yourself 15 or 20 years ago? What are the things that come to mind, whether it’s one or a couple of things that. That you think the audience would benefit from.

[00:35:34] Felix Faulhaber: Yeah, it’s a really interesting one.

So the one I mentioned earlier, I think is my biggest one probably is to have a vision for yourself. Think about where you want to be when you grow up in air quotes, right? But really think through what is your destination? Always think about that when you think through different stages or steps in your career, right?

So always refer back to that. So that is the one I already talked about that earlier. So I’m not going to go too far into that one. I think the second one is going to sound. I don’t know, silly, funny, but I really mean it is when, for me, when I was younger, especially, I thought if I made a mistake, the world ended, right.

And that led to me being very stressed many times. Now, I still get very frustrated with myself if I make a mistake, don’t get me wrong. But I think the time of making a mistake, being frustrated, and going ahead to say, how do I make sure that this doesn’t happen again? So that the time from the mistake to how to turn this into a learning opportunity has shortened dramatically.

But when I, when I was young, I mean, I would come home, I would spend a whole weekend beating myself up about some Making a silly mistake in Excel or whatever, right? And this is actually a, I heard a motivational speaker say this once and I still remind myself every once in a while. He said, don’t take yourself so damn seriously, right?

And I think it’s really good advice. Again, that doesn’t mean whatever, right? It doesn’t mean who cares about making mistakes, but it means mistakes happen. They will happen to you. They will happen to everybody else, by the way, everybody in the leadership position, all of your leaders, everybody has made mistakes and everybody is making mistakes.

And if you take yourself too seriously, you actually limit your opportunity from learning fast from a mistake. So don’t take yourself so seriously. Most mistakes can be resolved. Don’t have substantial consequences in the longterm. And so think about how do you learn from it? How do you make sure that.

You take away something that will help you in your ongoing career.

[00:37:39] Rodney Apple: Very good. Was there anything else that you wanted to cover yourself?

[00:37:42] Felix Faulhaber: I think as we were talking in the beginning, right? The one thing I would say is. Sometimes supply chain operations doesn’t look sexy, doesn’t feel like the most glamorous thing to do.

To me, it’s exactly why I love it, right? It’s the place where you don’t always stand in the spotlight, which I like. I don’t like being in the spotlight. I like doing the dirty work in the background. And so to me, there’s just a lot of, I get excited when I talk about operations, when I talk about supply chain, especially because A lot of folks that work on the commercial side and marketing and whatever, the, the, the sexy functions, right?

They’re like, why would you ever be excited about this? And to me, there’s just so much value you can create in this space, which then once you create it, you can talk about it. You don’t have to go sell it, but you can say, remember this new product launch. Remember this rush stuff we had to get to customers and where they said no other company could do it.

But you. You don’t need to go and pat yourself on the back. You can somewhere, but you can tell people, Hey, just remember, guys, this wouldn’t happen without operations. You can have all the marketing programs in the world. You can have a million salespeople walking around having great pitches without operations.

There’s no product without operations. The product doesn’t get to the customer without operations. If you’re in consumer goods, the consumer is not going to have your product. The consumer can’t consume the product. And so. If you really think about the impact operations has on the broader environment of the company, there’s, I think it’s super exciting.

And so for me, I think the only thing that I haven’t mentioned before is if you think about it and you wonder, is it the right place to go and you hear people making fun of you, the more people make fun of you, the more you should want to go there, right? It’s a great place to be if, if you’re a little bit like me and you’re like, I’m going to show you it’s the perfect place to be.

And so don’t let anything deter you from going in the space. I think it’s a great space. It’s a fun space and you can have a ton of impact being in the space. A lot of job security too. That’s true. That’s true. More fully normal COVID, but COVID led to a lot of job security. Yeah, that’s the truth.

[00:39:52] Chris Gaffney: This was great, Felix.

Thank you again for being patient with us and getting this done.

[00:39:58] Felix Faulhaber: Of course. Thank you for having me. This has been a lot of fun. I really appreciate it.

[00:40:02] Rodney Apple: Thanks, Felix. We appreciate your time today.

[00:40:09] Mike Ogle: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Supply Chain Careers podcast. Be sure to listen to other episodes and sign up to be notified when future episodes are released. As we continue to interview industry leading supply chain experts. This podcast is made possible by SCM Talent Group, the industry leading supply chain executive search firm.

Visit SCM Talent Group at scmtalent. com. Dot com to search for or to post supply chain jobs. Visit the supply chain job [email protected]. Are you tired of struggling to optimize your supply chain? Look no further than Profit Point the experts in supply chain, network design and technology integration solutions.

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