Think big. Start small. Move fast.

It’s the simple mantra that helps consultant Chad Moffiet solve some of the freight industry’s most complex business problems. A problem solver at heart, he has been helping businesses transform and bring about strategic change through some of the most volatile and challenging times for business.

“Recent world events, such as the COVID pandemic and geopolitical tensions, have increased global supply chain volatility. Many businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to match the demand for their products and services,” Chad says.

“With this increased volatility, there may be an opportunity for businesses to lift productivity by improving their planning and scheduling processes and improving their decision-making methods.”

Even before relatively recent tumultuous times, Chad has long found helping businesses with problem solving incredibly rewarding.

“People often feel daunted when they first set out to tackle complex challenges. To help management teams find a way forward, and to see these transformative projects come together, be supported by the business on an ongoing sustainable basis, and actually work – that’s pretty cool.”

Problem solving: from physics to ‘black belt’

Solving problems has always been Chad’s “thing”. It’s why he initially chose to study physics and engineering and worked in business improvement and transformation roles for most of his career.

“Turning something complex into insights that help people better understand the dynamics of the problem in a way that helps them move forward is very satisfying,” he states. “I enjoy helping people see the world differently”.

As Chad’s career progressed, so did the challenges he faced.

“I wanted to be better equipped to solve bigger and more complicated problems and lead teams through more complex change. I was already qualified as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt so I was looking for a way to take my skills and qualifications to the next level.”

Six Sigma (a quality management methodology that helps businesses improve their processes) is particularly helpful for large organisations that are navigating digital transformation projects.

AGSM @ UNSW Business School’s reputation as a leading business school that offered business leadership courses caught Chad’s eye during his search where to study for a Master Six Sigma Black Belt program. But it was the program’s focus that convinced him to enrol.

“It focused more than other programs on analysing and effecting strategic change, as opposed to other programs that seemed to focus solely on technical aspects. The inclusion of the General Managers Program as part of the AGSM Executive Master Black Belt Program was also attractive, as was the requirement to undertake two industry sponsored strategic analysis review projects.”

Since his Master Black Belt Program, Chad has completed more of AGSM management courses, such as a Graduate Certificate Change Management, Shaping Strategy to Create Value and Design thinking and Experimentation courses.

See also: Check out AGSM’s general manager courses and program here

Think big. Start small. Move fast

Today, Chad has his own consulting business, Spark Logic. Armed with new skills and knowledge learned from AGSM short courses, he wanted to consolidate decades of experience and AGSM tools and learnings into a simple mantra that is easy for clients to understand and buy into: Think big. Start small. Move fast.

Think big refers to making sure businesses are working to solve the right problem and that they have mechanisms in place to continually assess and demonstrate progress toward their objectives.

Start small speaks to the fact that often no-one can know all the answers upfront, so businesses need to start by identifying, prioritising and testing relevant hypotheses and assumptions.

Move fast focuses on keeping stakeholders positively engaged and collectively moving in the right direction through the process of change.

“Rather than dive into esoteric discussions about design thinking or systems thinking, or bombard people with a bunch of jargon they're not familiar with, I find it useful to frame the conversation in terms of: ‘Think big. Start small. Move fast.’ It’s a way to more easily communicate a proposed way forward and to have people better understand and support the transformation initiative.”

See also: AGSM Graduate Certificate in Change Management

In practice: making freight deliveries faster

Chad put his mantra into practice during a project to increase the productivity of a large Australian bulk commodity supply chain.

“My job was to help work out how we could get the trains in the supply chain to cycle faster – either to deliver more services if there was demand, or to deliver the same amount with fewer trains,” Chad explains.

In this case, the work undertaken by Chad and his fellow co-collaborators to improve the processes used to coordinate supply chain operations was recognised by winning the 2022 Queensland Mining Productivity Award.

“The improvements we achieved in this case mean that supply chain participants can now plan more services and be more confident in the stability of these plans – helping to make the businesses that rely on the supply chain more efficient and productive.”

“The frameworks that I learned in AGSM courses on how to best deal with complexity were invaluable in supporting this initiative.”

“Frameworks such as the Cynefin framework - from the AGSM General Manager Program’s Strategic Mindset course - were helpful in designing an implementation approach that made use of a series of experiments and pilot exercises to best probe and respond to the complexity inherent in the transformation.”

“System archetypes – from the Graduate Certificate of Change Course – were useful in designing process improvements in a way that increased the likelihood of their ultimate adoption by the diverse groups of stakeholders involved.”

While having his and his co-collaborators’ contributions to this project recognised at the recent awards was a proud moment for Chad, it doesn’t mean he’s putting the brakes on learning and development.

“I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning. The world's not getting simpler. If anything, it’s becoming more and more complex. If we don't continually update our skills, we're going to find it hard to solve the problems that need to be solved.”

Learn more about AGSM’s globally-ranked Executive Education Programs here.

Find out more about AGSM @ UNSW Business School here.