In Search of Excellence, Good to Great, Built to Last, Results Rule, The Leadership Challenge, Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance, A Great Place To Work, The Toyota Way, Lessons in Excellence, What Really Works, Small Giants, Think Big – Act Small, What the Best CEOs Know, The 12 Simple Secrets of Microsoft Management, Tough Management, Practice What You Preach, The Art of What Works, The Four Pillars of High Performance, The Leadership Challenge, The Rise and fall of Strategic Planning, In Search of Excellence, Credibility, The Discipline of Teams, A Passion for Excellence, Liberation Management, The Wisdom of Teams… 25 @ 7,000p
Experience: More than just your industry, your company, your job, and your personal experience
Vision: 20% of your time on reflection, observation and creative thinking
Now let’s take a look at what a number of CEOs and senior-level HP executives from around the world have to say.
I asked them this one simple question: What does it take for HR to get a seat at the CEO’s strategy table?”
Deborah Straight VP of HR at Southwest Airlines
Understand your organization’s business
Spend time every day talking with sales, production, quality, customer service, and accounting. Make sure you know what is going on in that bigger world. Know your customers, the cost of your products and services and how you are meting your monthly financial goals.
The business goals are your goals too. You contribute to inventory turns, you supply the best people who are trained in the business , motivated by their work, rewarded by the company and led by effective management. You need to be very knowledgeable about the business and ask questions that will push or improvement and innovation by all.
You people rely on you for correct, insightful and highly strategic information and advice. You must be reliable, trustworthy and knowledgeable. Let people down and they’ll stop coming to you for advice and information.
Measure outcomes and goal achievement , not work. The keys are deliverables and ROI. If you cannot clearly show that HR contribute directly to increased profitably, revenue and market share – no one will take you seriously at an executive level.
Express your thoughtful opinions backed with data and study. You have to understand the numbers. How else can you offer a solid, intelligent opinions on the business direction? Learn everything you can on the business processes and competitive environment and back up everything with water-tight research and real data.
Learn and grow every day through every possible method
Seek out experienced mentors on the business side of the house.
Attend HR conferences, meetings and events.
Attended leadership and management conferences.
Attend at least 40 hours of professional development and business training every year.
Seek out people who will ask you questions and challenge your beliefs.
5 operating companies, 17 subsidiaries a little shy of a billion in total operating revenue.
“ HR should be one of the most strategic aspects of the business, and a good HR person is worth their weight in gold – I just do not see them very often.”
Problem: they do not understand how the business works. Yes, they know benefits and 401K’s – but they do not deeply grasp the interconnected processes of the business and how they can specifically reach across the enterprise to positively impact all of those processes.
HR is in a unique position to manage the White Space
HR must understand the external world. HR professionals should have a solid grounding in finance, technology, economic and regulatory issues, the effects of globalization and workforce demographics.
HR must effectively serve all key stakeholders. Employees and managers are the traditional two – but HR must also be able to directly measure how they add real value to customers and investors as well.
HR must create the practices around people, performance management, information and workflows – and align these practices with the corporate goals -- to shape the organization’s identity.
HR must have a clear strategy and structure in place to deliver value to all stakeholders in the business.
HR professional must possess the right skills and competencies to ensure they embark on the right actions to deliver the intended value.
My entire business depends on me having, growing and keeping the absolute best people – period. Gerry (VP of HR) knows the business as well as I do. He comes to all key meetings, knows our top customers and is very respected in the industrial gearing industry. He has a probably 30 of the best people at other companies just waiting for an opening here and gives me great ideas on new products, marketing and advertising. I could not run the company without him.
Bob Lane Director of Global Strategic Planning Royal Dutch Shell - London
When the guy or gal in HR proves to me that they have truly valuable ideas and suggestions – that I cannot get from anyone else in the organization -- I will refuse to have any important meetings without them involved.
Siddharth Chaturvedi Infosys - Bangalore, India
“ I define strategic HR as the linking of human resources with strategic goals and objectives in order to improve business performance and develop an organizational culture that fosters innovations and flexibility.”
The new breed of HR managers need to understand and know how to measure the monetary impact of their actions, so as to be able to demonstrate the value added contributions of their functions.
HR professional become strategic partners when the participate in the process of defining business strategy by asking questions that move strategy ahead and when they design HR practices that align with the key business strategies to deliver measurable competitive advantage and ROI.
Andrew McLean from the Harvard Business School Future / Strategic Focus People (soft) Day-to-Day / Operational Focus Process (hard) Change Agent Employee Champion Administrative Expert Strategic Partner
Emphasizes administrative efficiency as performance standard
Emphasizes strategic impact as performance standard HR function is primarily a cost center HR professional is primarily a strategic partner Can relay on current HR competencies Requires advanced HR competencies Focus on HR activities Focuses on business outcomes relevant to line managers HR owns only HR HR shares responsibilities for human capital performance with line managers Requires no understanding of strategy Irrelevant if not driven by strategy Results in HR being managed like a commodity Results in HR being managed like a unique strategic asset Increasing marginalization and outsourcing of HR to low-cost vendor Outsourcing not easy because HR’s contribution is firm-specific and based on more than cost control