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The Strategic Business Partner

Alignment of Learning and Development activities to become value addding deeds that influence the corporate bottomline and act as enablers for achieving organisational goals thereby operating as strategic business partner.

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The Strategic Business Partner

  1. 1. The Strategic Business Partner Dr. Elijah Ezendu FIMC, FCCM, FIIAN, FBDI, FAAFM, FSSM, MIMIS, MIAP, MITD, ACIArb, ACIPM, PhD, DocM, MBA, CWM, CBDA, CMA, MPM, PME, CSOL, CCIP, CMC, CMgr
  2. 2. “Successful HR professionals must chart roles that include early and active involvement in key strategic business choices. They must become the partners of decision makers, sharing accountability for organizing work -- including where it is performed. Everyone, at every level, must stay focused on shared strategic priorities, challenge old ways and actively promote innovation. The HR professional needs to be a model and take on the specific role of integrating people strategies with business strategies in a way that advances the bottom line.” - Cynthia A. Metzler
  3. 3. “HR appear chameleon-like, constantly aware of and adapting to their changing environment and keen to lead organisational change, yet their ultimate goal to be considered fully strategic is a branch too far” - Astik Ranade
  4. 4. A survey of 500 HR directors across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, found out that only 15% of the activities carried out by HR departments are related to "pure strategic interventions". Source: Mercer
  5. 5. “The most successful firms are notable in employing imagination to define a new position, or find new value in whatever starting position they have.” - Michael Porter, The State of Strategic Thinking
  6. 6. Strategic Thinking is the way in which people think about, assess, view and define the future for themselves and their tasks, processes, associates, alliances, clients and systems. It stretches beyond responding to day-to-day problems and long term problems, opportunities and new realities. It actually involves proactive effort towards developing blueprint of the future.
  7. 7. “Strategic Thinking is a synthesizing process utilizing intuition and creativity whose outcome is an integrated perspective of the enterprise.” - Henry Mintzberg, The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning
  8. 8. Strategic Thinking in HR HR must log into strategic horizon while sifting value-contemplation for the purpose of ensuring decision alignments focus on quickening of corporate and business objectives. If HR fails to achieve the above-stated aim, its deliverables will continue to be considered as non-value adding deeds, that are equivalent to products of unprofitable cost centers. Source: Elijah Ezendu, Strategic Thinking in HR
  9. 9. Strategic Thinking and Strategic Planning Strategic Thinking Strategic Planning Thought Process • Synthetic • Divergent • Creative Thought Process • Analytical •Convergent •Conventional The purpose of strategic thinking is to discover novel imaginative strategies which can re-write the rules of the competitive game; and to envision potential futures, significantly different from the present. The purpose of strategic planning is to operationalize the strategies developed through strategic thinking, and to support the strategic thinking process. Strategic Management Source: Loizos Heracleos, Strategic Thinking or Strategic Planning
  10. 10. Five Criteria for Strategic Thinking Process Organization Observation Views Driving Forces Ideal Position Source: US Small Business Administration
  11. 11. Strategic Thinking is a mindset and array of thinking skills that facilitate the following: Envisioning the future. Development of alternative scenarios. Understanding the options. Appropriate decision making patterning to specific objectives. Determination of the right direction for getting there on a winning basis.
  12. 12. • Strategic Thinking involves change and culminates to constructive imagination of an ideal future. • It’s practical dreaming of appropriate future results that would add value.
  13. 13. Strategic Thinking as a Resource Strategic thinking uncovers potential opportunities for creating value and challenges assumptions about existing value propositions, so that new plan shall effectively target those opportunities.
  14. 14. Tim O’Shannassy Model of Strategic Thinking Elements Helicopter View Strategic Intent Participation of Internal and External Stakeholders THINKING IN TIME OUTPUT • Solving strategic problems • A conceptualization of the firms future • Disruption of alignment of McKinsey “7S Model” • Commitment of internal and external stakeholders to the strategy • Formulation and implementation of strategy concurrently or sequentially Source: Tim O’Shannassy, Strategic Thinking, A Continuum of Views and Conceptualization Strategic Thinking FLEXIBLE INPUTS • Flexible technology •Flexible people •Flexible structure •Flexible systems •Flexible Processes
  15. 15. Steps of Strategic Thinking • Defining where you are today. • Going beyond conventional thinking. • Discovering the scope of opportunities by broadening current view of services/products. • Anticipating the future. • Developing scenarios and a vision of the future. • Verification, Feasibility and Building the Strategic Output which would become the basis for Strategic Plan.
  16. 16. Strategic Thinking Tools Visualization: Developing mental picture of an ideal process, system, relationships and service. Mind-Mapping: Use of words, simple logic, lines, colours, images and links to depict connectivity and stimulate thinking in order to create an outline form on a paper or page for exploration. Scenario Building: Painting different scenarios about the future and developing appropriate strategies for them. Basic Creative Thinking: This involves generating many possible alternatives, on the path of innovation, as a method of problem solving.
  17. 17. Scenario Building overshoots forecasting, and takes advantage of foresight. Forecasting involves getting advance information about the future by analyzing existing trends and conditions. Foresight is the ability to see what is emerging. Scenario Building is not about predicting the future, but perceiving futures in the present.
  18. 18. Process Considerations for Strategic Thinking • Aligned • Goal Oriented • Fact-Based • Based on Broad Thinking • Focused • Agreed Upon • Engaging • Adaptable Source: CFAR
  19. 19. Critical Success Factors for Strategic Thinking • Paradigm shift. • Results versus methods and means. • Link Mega, Macro and Micro levels. • Develop Measurable Objectives. • Use an Ideal Vision. • Define needs as gaps in results. Source: Kaufman, Strategic Thinking
  20. 20. The Imperative of Integrating L & D Policy and Practices with Business Practices Integrating learning and development policies and practices with other business practices yields a well-rounded value-chain piecing together which facilitates uniform coordination towards organisational business objectives.
  21. 21. Integration of Learning and Development with Business Practices can be achieved by applying Competency Framework for mapping Corporate Goals to Performance Standards as well as Learning and Development Interventions.
  22. 22. What is Competency? “Observable performance dimensions, including individual knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviours, as well as collective team, process, and organizational capabilities, that are linked to high performance, and provide the organization with sustainable competitive advantage” (Arvy & Orth).
  23. 23. Competence vs. Competency In the past, HR professionals have tended to draw a clear distinction between 'competences' and 'competencies'. The term ‘competence’ (competences) was used to describe what people need to do to perform a job and was concerned with effect and output rather than effort and input. ‘Competency’ (competencies) described the behaviour that lies behind competent performance, such as critical thinking or analytical skills, and described what people bring to the job. However, in recent years, there has been growing awareness that job performance requires a mix of behaviour, attitude and action and hence the two terms are now more often used interchangeably. Source: CIPD
  24. 24. Competency Framework A ‘competency framework’ is a structure that sets out and defines each individual competency (such as problem-solving or people management) required by individuals working in an organisation or part of an organisation. Source: CIPD
  25. 25. Components of a Competency Framework A competency framework consists of Behavioural indicators, Competencies and Competency clusters. Behavioural Indicators: These are examples of behaviours that would be observed when someone demonstrates competence. They are the building blocks of the competency framework. For example behavioural indicators for the competency “Teamwork Work and Collaboration” are: Identifies when team members need support and provide it. Shares knowledge and information willingly with others. Collaborates effectively in meetings and informal interactions. A Competency: This is a set of behaviours, which demonstrates that a person has the abilities, knowledge, skills and personal attributes to do the job competently. The best way to describe competencies is to use behavioural language that describes the actions needed to achieve the organisation’s goals. For example the competency “Teamwork” is described as “Works with others to cooperatively accomplish objectives”. Competency Clusters: These are individual competencies that are grouped into competency clusters. For example the competency “Teamwork” forms part of the competency cluster “Working With Others”. Other competencies that would form part of this cluster are, “Influencing and Persuading”, “Building Relationships”, “Managing Others”, etc. Source: AssessSystems
  26. 26. Progression in Competency Progression in competency depends on the following: •Scope •Context •Autonomy
  27. 27. Competency Mastery Levels
  28. 28. Configuration of Mastery Levels Size of Mastery Levels depends on the following: •Organisational Structure •Hierarchical Layer Variance •Organisational Dynamics Philosophy Progress from one Mastery Level to another is characterised by calibrated increase in proficiency which synchronises with performance requirement at that level for effective contribution to business goals.
  29. 29. Using Competency Framework Learning and Development Programmes can be developed as targeted intervention models for each competency mastery level. This enables appropriate effectuation of Learning and Development Programmes by linking its output to the required results that are akin to business goals.
  30. 30. Strategic Alignment: The Result Strategic Alignment of Learning and Development Programmes to Corporate Goals by means of Competency Mastery Level symbolises the activity stream of Strategic Business Partnership in that section of HR Function.
  31. 31. What does integration of training allow?  It provides employees with the tools they need to succeed as employees  It provides managers with the tools they need to succeed as mangers: train employees so they are at the level they need to be  Taking this another step further: the training enables managers and employees to take ownership of this process  Adding value: Setting the organization up for success by creating an environment where competency expectations are visible to all organizational members and organizational structures are in place to achieve desired performance levels Source: Olson, Mihalevsky & Letourneau, Becoming a Strategic Business Partner
  32. 32. Provision of Value This is the essence of presence in the value chain of an organisation. Inability to provide minimal value is tantamount to muda and unjustified existence.
  33. 33. HR Value vs. Business Goal Contemporary HR Value had been self-centred and somewhat disconnected from business goal orientated perspective. That’s why such output is not identified as ‘value adding result’ in corporate strategic outlay.
  34. 34. What is Value? It’s an ascribed attribute which is based on perceived benefits, cost, price and comparative importance.
  35. 35. “Nothing is more useful than water; but it will purchase scarce anything; scarce anything can be had in exchange for it. A diamond, on the contrary, has scarce any value in use; but a very great quantity of other goods may frequently be had in exchange for it.” - Adam Smith
  36. 36. According to James and Mona Fitzsimmons, the value equation should be as stated below. Value = (Results Produced) + (Process Quality) (Price) + (Cost of Acquiring the Service)
  37. 37. Identity of Results Produced Results Produced should be within the context of the receiver’s stance and not the perception of producer. HR must identify its service value in terms of relative worth to the receiver. The right sets of results that are unique, influential and conspicuous constitute competitive advantage.
  38. 38. Exercise Which of these characterise the best available value proposition? A.Out of 100 features only 70 are useful to business goals. B.Out of 50 features only 40 are useful to business goals C.Out of 25 features only 10 are useful to business goals D.Out of 20 features only 13 are useful to business goals
  39. 39. HR Value Proposition
  40. 40. Structuring HR Value Proposition The structure of HR Value Proposition should be robust enough to symbolise real provisioning for each of its stakeholders. It can be commonsensical confining HR exertion to Shareholders, Customers and Employees due to the ease of identifying economic connotation therefrom. HR needs to realise the full impact of including External Community and Government in its Value Proposition Target.
  41. 41. Exercise How does Learning and Development Value generated by HR influence each of the following stakeholders? •Shareholders •Employees •Customers •Government •External Community
  42. 42. Dr Elijah Ezendu is Award-Winning Business Expert & Certified Management Consultant with expertise in Interim Management, Strategy, Competitive Intelligence, Transformation, Restructuring, Turnaround Management, Business Development, Marketing, Project & Cost Management, Leadership, HR, CSR, e- Business & Software Architecture. He had functioned as Founder, Initiative for Sustainable Business Equity; Chairman of Board, Charisma Broadcast Film Academy; Group Chief Operating Officer, Idova Group; CEO, Rubiini (UAE); Special Advisor, RTEAN; Director, MMNA Investments; Chair, Int’l Board of GCC Business Council (UAE); Senior Partner, Shevach Consulting; Chairman (Certification & Training), Coordinator (Board of Fellows), Lead Assessor & Governing Council Member, Institute of Management Consultants, Nigeria; Lead Resource, Centre for Competitive Intelligence Development; Lead Consultant/ Partner, JK Michaels; Turnaround Project Director, Consolidated Business Holdings Limited; Technical Director, Gestalt; Chief Operating Officer, Rohan Group; Executive Director (Various Roles), Fortuna, Gambia & Malta; Chief Advisor/ Partner, D & E; Vice Chairman of Board, Refined Shipping; Director of Programmes & Governing Council Member, Institute of Business Development, Nigeria; Member of TDD Committee, International Association of Software Architects, USA; Member of Strategic Planning and Implementation Committee, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria; Country Manager (Nigeria) & Adjunct Faculty (MBA Programme), Regent Business School, South Africa; Adjunct Faculty (MBA Programme), Ladoke Akintola University of Technology; Editor-in-Chief, Cost Management Journal; Council Member, Institute of Internal Auditors of Nigeria; Member, Board of Directors (Several Organizations). He holds Doctoral Degree in Management, Master of Business Administration and Fellow of Professional Institutes in North America, UK & Nigeria. He is Innovator of Corporate Investment Structure Based on Financials and Intangibles, for valuation highlighting intangible contributions of host communities and ecological environment: A model celebrated globally as remedy for unmitigated depreciation of ecological capital and developmental deprivation of host communities. He had served as Examiner to Professional Institutes and Universities. He had been a member of Guild of Soundtrack Producers of Nigeria. He's an author and extensively featured speaker.
  43. 43. Thank You

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Alignment of Learning and Development activities to become value addding deeds that influence the corporate bottomline and act as enablers for achieving organisational goals thereby operating as strategic business partner.


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