April 26, 2017

Possibly the most brilliant logistician of the biblical age, Joseph, can teach us a lot about the importance of logistics today.

Joseph’s exceptional forecasting and planning abilities put him on a fast track to promotions. He ascended rapidly from the role of prisoner/superintendent in an Egyptian jail, to Pharaoh’s Chief Logistics Officer with “Prince” in his title. At the peak of his career, the man was second only to Pharaoh.

Let’s recap Joseph’s rise to capture the full significance of his story in the modern day.

After being sold by his brothers to a group of nomad Ishmaelites for “twenty [pieces] of silver” (Genesis 37:28), he was brought to Egypt, “and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmaelites” (Genesis 39:1). He rose to be Potiphar’s chief of staff: “…he had made him overseer in his house and over all that he had…” (Genesis 39:5). Unfortunately, after rebuking the advancements of Potiphar’s wife “And she caught him by his garment saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled” (Genesis 39:12). Joseph was the subject of a wrongful sexual harassment accusation, and ended up in jail.

Even there, Joseph’s leadership qualities shone through: “And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners” (Genesis 39:22).

What is less known, however, is that during his years in prison Joseph mastered forecasting techniques, interpreting the dreams of Pharaoh’s former Chief Butler and Chief Baker. Both interpretations were realized, cementing Joseph’s reputation as a master forecaster.

During these years, he also developed an understanding of the Egyptian business cycle. He clearly saw that the nation’s economy was based on a seven-year phase, but lacked the means to convey his findings to senior management.

Joseph’s big career break came when Pharaoh had two strange dreams.

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