Lead-Wise

MEANINGFUL & IMPACTFUL RESULTS

For HR professionals – Making Your Voice Heard

We recently saw in the press about an employee situation in a leading IT organization in India. HR was blamed by many. There will be many occasions in organizations that involve difficult situations to execute and the pressure seems high. One of the most common reasons cited in such situations is financial pressure.

Many times, a different contradicting view is not raised by HR because of the fear for their own jobs, to avoid conflict with the leaders who are more powerful, whose support is needed and to avoid personal issues. Business leaders play a key role in making their HR teams comfortable and confident for such discussions.

An important lesson for HR professional here is to clearly listen to oneself, think from multiple perspectives and highlight one’s point of view, when experience and conscience clearly tells something is amiss. You have to take responsibility for a decision that you are involved in and highlight concerns at the time of review. When a delicate situation goes out of control later, you will most probably see others pointing towards you, though you were not the only person in that room. Sometimes, these may involve ethical scenarios that can come back and haunt the organization in a major way (eg. recent harassment claims in a prominent U.S. organization). The situation may require you to take a clear stand that sometimes creates tension.

For any professional, it is also important to build your credibility by constantly interacting with all key leaders regarding your points of view. One needs to develop trust, skill, knowledge and credibility to initiate and influence such discussions.

Poor leadership is seen when business or organizational leaders hide behind HR teams for decisions made and don’t feel comfortable communicating themselves. The best business leaders take responsibility for leading their organizations, initiate discussions through leadership channels and actively partner with their HR teams. They form a great partnership to build an engaged culture and everyone wins in the process, especially the organization. As an HR professional, it is important to realize you are ultimately safeguarding the organization and key stakeholder interest when you bring different and sometimes contradicting perspectives to a complex discussion.

I once interacted with a headhunter team who were sourcing for a HR Head in a startup. They seemed to become upset and dismissive on being asked related questions and ended up responding quite unprofessionally. It made me wonder that if they could not tolerate detailed questions about the organization while searching for an HR leader, what sort of HR professional and team would be hired.

We see this aspect become increasingly relevant for organizations to acknowledge. Many times, issues and scenarios go out of control because of the “How”, not the “What”. In today’s world, where everyone has access to both channels and sources of information, the professional and balanced HR perspective internally or externally, becomes critical for every professional and organization to develop, succeed and thrive.

Prepare Students For Future World Of Work – 3 Behavioral Elements

There is tremendous amount of discussion about the fast evolving future of work. While there are many assumptions about the future, many experts agree that it will be difficult to predict clearly and continue to evolve quickly. They also seem to agree that machine learning will become faster than human learning in near future. Some work may continue to be local in nature and highly valued. Some may get automated. One way to succeed or even survive in future could be to proactively develop an ability to continuously observe, reflect, learn and take adaptive actions at an individual and systemic level.

So, from an education or learning perspective, how do you prepare students for the future of work?

We can start with couple of basic premises.

  1. Success at work or life will continue to depend on a set of distinguishing abilities, behaviors or habits.
  2. The environment we are in can influence and impact them.

If educators can figure out ways to develop the following key behaviors for students through interventions and, if students can consciously develop them, readiness increases.

Three key behavioral elements for learning to inculcate early are:

  1. Curiosity, Continuing To Explore and Asking Questions
  2. Openness To Experimenting, Failure and Rework
  3. Achieving Independence Through Confident and Responsible Actions

Educators should consider various ways in which the above behavioral elements can be developed early in their students by designing their learning environments and related processes. As we know, habits once formed early are not easy to change.

Some examples on potential interventions – Classrooms should be include quality time for reflecting on the learning process, explore and develop multiple approaches and seeking out answers together in different ways. In a fast evolving and uncertain world, lack of curiosity in individuals or organizations leads to quick decline. Teachers should become facilitators of the learning process rather than aiming to become the database of answers. The process of figuring out answers should be encouraged and rewarded. Teachers should be open to exploring and learning together with their students. Labs should be places where students should enjoy experiments and figuring various approaches towards answers while becoming comfortable with working through failures. The focus there should not be on getting the right result but rather experimenting and figuring out. The “growth mindset” should be encouraged across the board. Teachers should encourage students to step up at every possible opportunity and experience the different aspects of taking actions with confidence and responsibility, inside and outside the classroom.

Educators have to themselves think deeper and modify their approaches to help prepare their students for a fast evolving future where the nature of work may evolve. Doing what made them and their students successful in the past may not apply for the future. There are of course various aspects to thinking through this. The fundamental point is to start looking at developing fundamental behaviors that enable students to navigate and adapt effectively in an unclear future, when the content itself may not matter as much as the context and behaviors. Start with and focus on one or two. Exploring these scenarios will also force you as educators to effectively contemplate and redesign your future of work.

Tensions Between The Elephant & Rider – Our Brains & Change

I recently completed reading a book, “Switch” that focuses on the topic of change and found the following concept/notes valuable. We see this play out everyday.

Conventional wisdom in psychology is that the brain has two independent systems at work all the times.

  1. the emotional side – part of you that is instinctive, that feels pain and pleasure.
  2. the rational side, also known as the reflective or conscious system – part of you that deliberates and analyzes, and looks into the future.

The duo’s tension is captured by an analogy in University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s The Happiness Hypothesis book.

Our emotional side is an Elephant and our rational side is its Rider.

Perched atop the Elephant, the Rider holds the reins and seems to be the leader. But the Rider’s control is precarious because the Rider is so small relative to the Elephant. Anytime, the Elephant and the Rider disagree abut which direction to go, the Rider is going to lose. He’s completely overmatched.

Most of us are familiar with situations in which our Elephant overpowers our Rider. The weakness of the Elephant, our emotional and instinctive side, is clear. It’s often looking for the quick pay-off (ice cream) over the long-term payoff (being thin).

When change efforts fail, it’s usually the Elephant’s fault, since the kinds of change we want typically involve short-term sacrifices for long term payoffs. The Rider simply can’t keep the Elephant on the road long enough to reach the destination.

The Elephant isn’t always the bad guy. Emotion is the Elephant’s turf – love and compassion and sympathy and loyalty. Making progress requires the energy and drive of the Elephant.

If you want to change things, you’ve got to appeal to both. The Rider provides the planning and direction. The Elephant provides the energy. So, if you reach the Riders of your team but not the Elephants, team members will will have understanding without motivation. If you reach their Elephants but not their Riders, they’ll have passion without direction. When Elephants and Riders move together, change can come easily. When they disagree, you’ve got a problem.

If you are working on changes at an individual or organizational level, how will you ensure you appeal to both the Elephant and Rider?

Source:

  • Switch, How To Change Things When Change Is Hard, Chip Heath & Dan Heath; 2010
  • Website – heathbrothers.com/resources/

When Hardship Comes Calling

When everything seems to be going right, you feel nothing can stop you.

You’re on a roll. Life is busy and everything seems to be happening as you would like it to be, or even better. You’re in the middle of things, and people constantly seem to be around you. You can sense the increase in status, success and the feeling of being wanted and valued.

Then inevitably sooner or later, hardship comes calling in some format. It may be in the form of unexpected health, job issues or other other personal disruptions.

Everything seems to shift and become challenging during that phase. Life seems to bring forth lot more questions and uncertainty. Connections and friends don’t call you or connect as they used to earlier. They just don’t seem to have time. Some disappear. In this phase, you can feel most things not progressing as you would like them to and your internal graph continues to fall.

For the totally unprepared, these scenarios can be debilitating and shocking.

Life throws up surprises with all possibilities of good and bad. Most experienced and wise beings would share the opinion that life is a mix of ups and downs – nothing is constant.

On a more practical level, the question about hardships is not whether they will appear. It is about how you will respond when they appear and how much resilience you have to tide over them. Difficult phases seem to last longer and happier moments seem to pass by quicker.

When you work through hardships in a focused manner without finding reasons to blame others or circumstances and focus on things that you can control, your probability of getting out of these “holes” increases. Your energy levels normally become low during such situations and you need to find ways to find sources of higher energy levels – physically, mentally and spiritually. Everything ties into each other. Physical momentum seems to impact mental momentum.

When the going gets really tough, normally your closest friends, family or connections will be the ones to give you their valuable listening ears, guidances, helping hands and shoulders. It is also a time when you need to remember to ask and stay open for help from any quarter without judgment. The ones who care about you will ensure you are on their agenda.

Your hardships provide strong opportunities for learning to cope and rebound from frustration and despair. Hardships lead to the discovery/confirmation of your core beliefs, values, and what defines and matters most for you. There are always things that you can do something about and it helps to focus on them, however small they may seem.

In the end, it is not about how the world sees or defines you. It is about how you see yourself and your life. Your life and search for meaning are unique experiences that only you can experience and complete. When we look back at our hardships, we realize that those hardships helped define us more than our good times.

The wiser, mature beings are those who have worked their way through hardships and understand the depth of such scenarios. Their magnanimity, abundance mindset and gratitude are also influenced by those experiences. The depth of their hardships (especially if life/death situations are involved) faced and their journeys can be observed in the way they interact with the world. Our society needs more wiser beings.

Our lives perhaps facilitate the evolution of our souls.

Best wishes…

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“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”, Anne Bradstreet, The Works of Anne Bradstreet (GoodReads)

Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference…

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Easiest Way To Be Visible On LinkedIn And Add Value

I know many connections who are hesitant and uncertain about how to be visible on LinkedIn. They also doubt if there is anything valuable to offer.

Here’s the simplest way to be visible and add value for yourself, your organization and your LinkedIn network.

“Like”, “Share” or “Comment” on helpful updates, posts and articles from your network or people you follow.

These updates don’t need to be about you or your organization alone. When you “Like”, “Share” or “Comment” on an update from someone in your network, it appears on the LinkedIn feed of your network (many times, they go even beyond your first degree connections).

You may decide to act only on certain topics and from individuals you feel totally comfortable with.

These may be:

  • Job opening updates (not just limited to your area of work or organization, think about your network)
  • Key updates about your organization and others as well
  • Interesting, helpful articles or posts that you come across
  • Points of view or observations, including your own

It may help to know your network better. You also don’t need to go overboard – just one or two actions per week may be a good start.

It is also important to keep in mind always – “What you choose to share says something about you.” 

As you do this more and more, and consistently, it not only makes you more visible to your network but also brings value in terms of useful information, learning or awareness from your sphere (however small it may seem). Your name/brand also becomes more familiar to your network (sometimes, even beyond your first degree connections) over time. You also attract other connections who may share similar interests from different parts of the world. I’ve noticed and experienced this firsthand.

Overall in any network, it is important to not just be consumers. Think about contributing as well, in your own way. Start small. That will make you and your network richer, more aware and wiser. When there are more consumers and contributors in a network, the end result is a “win” for everyone.

Talent Magnets – Who Are They & Why Are They Important

“Talent magnets” are those people in organizations with whom most stakeholders, internally and externally want to engage, connect and work for. They tend to be in all functions, irrespective of roles or seniority, and attract other talented and competent individuals to their organizations. It is not surprising to notice that many successful organizations (profit, non-profit or government) have talent magnets in many leadership or management roles. Employees, consultants, contractors, partners, communities and customers prefer to work with such talent magnets and, they play a key role in retaining other talented individuals. Talent magnets in leadership roles often deliver tremendous unrecognized value to their organization’s brand and culture. In today’s fast changing and increasingly digital world, they play a critical role in their organization’s success.

So, what are some key characteristics and behaviors of talent magnets?

These are some of my observations from three continents.

  • Talent magnets encourage diversity and culture of inclusion. They do not expect or encourage others to be similar to them. They encourage authenticity.
  • They treat everyone with respect, and are caring. When someone needs a helping hand, they offer genuine support.
  • They are willing to share responsibility and recognition.
  • They have humility, acknowledge their mistakes, and seem accessible and vulnerable. When a correction has to happen with a team member, they are willing to have respectful, engaging, sometimes difficult developmental conversations.
  • They are emotionally intelligent, do not jump to quick conclusions and are open to listening to different perspectives. They do not blindly push their own agenda.
  • They try to constantly understand and work toward the larger picture, while executing their deliverables. While reflecting on the context and what is best for the organization, their actions sometimes may hurt their own individual short term standing or official objectives (KRAs) but they may still consciously choose to benefit the larger cause.
  • They don’t play politics but acknowledge, recognize and navigate related elements maturely themselves while helping others. They encourage collaboration internally and externally, and do not pit one team against the other. They manage through negative or toxic environments effectively and neutralize or positively energize team members and environments.
  • They establish and encourage fairness, and take a strong stand against unfair practices and behaviors. They are willing to initiate and engage in respectful conversations with other stakeholders.
  • They are reliable and stick to their word. If for some reason something promised or committed changes, they openly try to explain, discuss and clarify directly with the related individual(s).
  • They are open to continuous learning and encourage others to improve. They recognize the unique strengths and differentiating competencies that team members bring to work. In short, they build confidence. Other talented people feel more secure and seem to flourish under and after them.
  • They sometimes go beyond the organization’s stated policies and guidelines to bring in and nurture talent, when very convinced about the potential.
  • They build long term relationships, which goes beyond a single organization.

As a result, talent magnets also hold higher influence within and outside their organizations. Most stakeholders become willing to listen to their perspectives and suggestions seriously.

On the other side of the scale, there are “talent repellers”, who most stakeholders seem to try to avoid, even though they may sometimes be highly competent individuals. The challenge here is that any seeming result happens for short term, with possible toxic environments and unsustainable ways of working.

Would you want to work with a talent magnet? Would you aspire to become one? Are there any other characteristics or behaviors that you notice?

Leadership In The Digital Age

 

There is a lot of discussion about “digital” currently and how it influences or impacts leadership.

Both the terms “leadership” and “digital” can be interpreted in different ways. Before we get to the details, it first helps to get to a shared understanding about what digital means.

A July 2015 McKinsey article stressed the importance of business leaders having a clear and common understanding of exactly what digital means to them and, as a result, what it means to their business. The authors believed that digital should be seen less as a thing and more a way of doing things. The three attributes of digital are: creating value at the new frontiers of the businesscreating value in the processes that execute a vision of customer experiences, and building foundational capabilities (digital mindset and technology) that support the entire structure.

The authors of the book, “Leading Digital” share the definition of digital transformation as the use of digital technology to radically improve the performance and/or the reach of a company. Digital technology is radically changing and challenging businesses in various sectors, many times at high speed. According to them, the time to start digital mastery is now. The longer you wait as a firm, the tougher it will become and you will fall behind.

So, what do leading experts like Manfred de Vries, Josh Bersin, Zenger Folkman, Charlene Li think about leadership in the digital world?

  • Digital is not technology but a different way of thinking.
  • The traditional hierarchical model of leadership is disintegrating.
  • Leadership no longer defined by what a single leader does – it is more about the ability to collaborate, motivate and manage networks.
  • It is also about decentralizing leadership and connected networks of teams. Leadership behavior needs to be distributed throughout an organization.
  • Employees want more ownership rather than to follow instruction.
  • Leaders have to be good at the coaching part of their job.
  • Key Behaviors in the digital environment – Speed, Collaboration, External Sensing, Being Inclusive, Creating Open Environment.
  • There will be gaps in the leadership pipeline in this environment and due to the radical changes. It is very important to identify the gaps and work on them.
  • Being organized correctly with the right organization structure, right jobs, right people in those jobs are critical factors for success.
  • Leadership development professionals should have a strong context about what is going on in their external and internal environments. Developing leaders is about looking at the whole system, not just L&D or HR.
  • Organizations which take leadership development seriously outperform their competition. Strong leadership requires continuous development.

Charlene Li’s (Altimeter Group) simple yet powerful (digital) engaged leader framework highlights three core elements worth trying out for any aspiring leader.

1. Listening at scale – Leaders can listen and respond, not to just one person, but many at a time. It is about listening to support your goals.

2. Sharing to shape people’s mindsets and actions – Sharing forges connections with followers that improves relationships, achieve goals, and amplifies a leader’s influence.  The big shift that leaders have to make is to be more comfortable with openness.  Sharing has to help spread authenticity, emotion and point of view.

3. Engaging to transform – Leaders have to use two-way dialogue that motivates and mobilizes followers to take collective action.

What actions will you take for yourself and your organization to become a competent leader in the digital age?

“When you’re a disruptor, you move into your fear, not away…” – Whitney Johnson, Disrupt Yourself

 

References:

http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/high-tech/our-insights/what-digital-really-means

http://www.slideshare.net/capgemini/didier-bonnet-oow-leading-digital-presentation

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/the-right-leadership-style-for-the-digital-age/

http://knowledge.insead.edu/blog/insead-blog/evolving-leadership-in-the-digital-age-4611

http://zengerfolkman.com/podcast-ep-63-developing-leaders-in-the-digital-age-feat-josh-bersin/

http://www.slideshare.net/INBOUND/ie15-c-charlene-li-final

The Engaged Leader: A Strategy for Digital Transformation

Leadership Development For Smaller Organizations In The New Year – 4 Topics To Consider

Happy New Year to all readers!

Many smaller organizations find it difficult to figure out relevant activities in the area of leadership/management development. Related questions come up frequently and at times, a mistaken perception exists that leadership/management development is only applicable to larger organizations.

If left ignored, this is one area that will hurt any organization in many ways. Worrying symptoms start showing up in different areas for the organization including stakeholder engagement, execution and it becomes difficult to diagnose the real problem as time passes.

Here are four topics under leadership/management development for leaders and HR teams to consider.

  1. Any development effort starts with developing self awareness. Leadership self awareness development can start with understanding oneself deeper through facilitated 360 degree/other feedbacks, personality assessments (like MBTI, Hogan etc.) and follow-up reflections/coaching sessions. These sessions can be facilitated at the individual or team level, or a combination of both for quality reflection and action. Periodic follow-up interventions are invaluable for any development effort. Self aware leaders also recognize coaching opportunities for themselves and their team members toward meaningful results.
  2. A related impactful area to consider focusing on is leadership team development. Many leaders miss the opportunity or don’t take the time to consciously reflect on establishing the building blocks of developing an effective team and co-creating a focused agenda with the team. When teams are not developed consciously and carefully especially at senior levels, it leaves room for potential confusion, conflict and frustration. Even for well established teams, this is an important topic to revisit consistently and not to be taken for granted. Supporting leadership transitions in this context also become highly relevant.
  3. Building a shared understanding of what “leadership“or being a leader in the organization means (leadership constructs) will help clarify expectations. Support can be provided through training programs for first time managers, middle managers and leaders. The more leaders understand what it means to be and is expected from a leader in the organization, the more impactful results organizations can consistently achieve through them.
  4. Building a shared understanding on the organization’s strategy, values and culture is often an important item that loses focus. Many times, the clarity on values and culture stays strong with only the founding or early members. As a result, many people tend to apply their own interpretations which leads the organization’s value system in different directions and dilution over time. Sometimes, there is a need for a discussion on how the culture has evolved or needs to change in the context of business direction. Reinforcing and aligning the organization’s understanding and shared beliefs will ensure stronger cohesion, commitment and execution across the board. This can be facilitated through various well designed OD/HR, engagement and communication initiatives.

If you are a leader or HR professional in a smaller organization considering impactful activities to implement in leadership/management development, these may be some practical and actionable ideas to think about for the new year. It is important to constantly be aware of the paradox of busyness & development.

Best wishes for a Meaningful, Impactful and Successful 2017.

Tojo
Lead-Wise

What Do I See Or Hear? My Point Of View?

We have arrived at the start of the last month of an eventful year.

During December last year, I wrote Another Year…Questions To Reflect On…. Those questions are still worth revisiting.

While thinking about my December post for this year, I wanted to touch something that is very relevant and would connect my personal observations to things happening around the world.

Many intense social media discussions involving individuals around the world with diverse, many times contradictory and conflicting perspectives came to the forefront this year. Social media and the increasingly digital world have given everyone a voice. It was not the differing perspectives that stood out for me but rather the quality of (or lack of) open debate or conversation and the increasing reliance on flimsy information.

While mobile devices, access to the internet, information and social media have become prevalent, one thing that is noticeable is the ease and quickness with which many of us (irrespective of whether we are from the developing or developed world) can be misguided. Is the reading habit overall on the decline? What or who influences our perspectives and points of view?

Recognition of quality sources of information seems to be a challenge. Many jump to quick conclusions and fail to do a secondary search or verification, think deeper of what they have seen or heard before developing a point of view. There seems to be a danger of a substantial number of us being misguided, ignorant or unaware. Companies like Google and Facebook seem to be getting serious about finding and taking out false news in their networks. There seems to be too much ‘noise’ that seems to win attention many times, even in the networks of LinkedIn.

The ability to discern quality among the big waves of information that we come across will become a distinguishing and important skill. 

To help ourselves from falling into these traps and developing a healthy point of view, consider three simple points while navigating through what we see or hear in today’s world.

  1. Seek quality information always and try to see if there are inherent conflicts of interest for whoever is sharing it. 
  2. Always review the relevance, experience, expertise of the author or content provider with regards to the topic and the source of your information. Look at the history, background, consistency, credibility and trust factor for your source.
  3. Use more than one source of information before concluding on your point of view. Even a minor difference in perspective could enrich the quality of your thinking and point of view.

This approach requires exercising more patience, a curious mindset and openness before finalizing your point of view on any topic and it is well worth the effort. Perhaps, it is high time that this awareness starts from the education system itself.

As a professional in any area, do remember that your perspectives and thoughts show up in your actions, work and life and personal brand. Are they worth your consideration?

“But I think that no matter how smart, people usually see what they’re already looking for…” – Veronica Roth, Allegiant (Goodreads)

Building A Satisfying & Successful Career in HR

 

During recent years, I’ve received the following question many times – “I would like to build a successful career in HR. Where and how should I start? What should I do next?”

There is no one sure answer to these questions but I do have few suggestions based on experiences, observations and learning from others. This list has grown over time and hopefully useful for many in early career who enquire about this topic.

  • It is great to get an early starting opportunity with a solid, large HR organization but don’t worry about starting small if required, by taking on wider responsibilities in smaller organizations. Smaller organizations give you the opportunity to be involved with a lot more functionally while larger organizations tend to be more structured and specific in requirements with the complexity of scale. There are advantages on both sides and you have to make the most of your early learning opportunities, wherever you are. Stay eager to take on additional responsibilities, learn and get exposure to different areas as much as possible. Set yourself a goal of mastering the fundamentals in your key area of work within a certain timeframe and then target higher degree of expertise.
  • If you don’t have formal education in HR, it is helpful to go for additional industry recognized related certifications or programs. Focus on getting the fundamentals right initially. That helps your knowledge base, confidence and also builds credibility with business stakeholders.
  • Try to talk to/discuss experiences and learning with other competent HR professionals you meet through programs, work, networks etc. Find opportunities or common avenues to connect with other professionals and continue the discussions. Find your own mentors or coaches as well.
  • Follow, watch and read articles from the thought leaders constantly. This will help you to get a strong understanding of the concepts/language used and this will become a distinguishing strength as you grow further. Not many HR professionals seem to take continuos learning seriously and those who do stand out.
  • You’ll need to build your HR experience profile patiently in specific functional areas considering your organization’s needs and your own interest. Over time, you may decide whether you want to become a generalist or specialist (eg. talent acquisition, learning & development, rewards). Even generalists tend to acquire couple of strong areas of expertise over time.
  • Develop self awareness and understand what you really enjoy doing. Knowing one’s own personality characteristics is important. Don’t just go by the pressures of how external sources define functional areas of importance or growth. Your lack of passion or interest in a certain area and related questions will show up one way or the other and become a road block to excellence.
  • When you apply for roles, try to understand clearly the elements specific to that role. The more you have and can add experiences related to what the hiring organization/manager could be looking for, the better your chances. Review profiles of successful HR professionals, their experiences and career paths for pointers – it’s easier to find them on LinkedIn or other professional networks nowadays.
  • Build your awareness and understanding of your organization’s dynamics. Being successful in HR would involve the ability to work/align with multiple stakeholders with varying opinions on the same topic and managing complexity. Successful HR professionals seem to be those who find an effective way of working/gelling with core business leaders and constituents.
  • Continuous development and application are even more relevant for HR. There’s quite a lot of evolving research from different areas that can be applied to people management. It also involves lots of continuous practice and adaptation to different environments. HR is a “craft” that needs to be continuously worked on ( Why Great HR Professionals Are Like Master Carpenters – Josh Bersin, http://joshbersin.com/2015/04/why-great-hr-professionals-are-like-master-carpenters/).

For more experienced professionals, in their book ‘Talent Masters’, authors Bill Conaty (former GE Global HR Head) and Ram Charan included 6 points for HR Leaders to become effective business partners.

  1. Understand your business and industry dynamics – financials and key operating levers that affect your business.
  2. Build your HR vision and strategies around the business model.
  3. Become problem solvers versus problem identifiers.
  4. Take your work seriously but don’t take yourself too seriously – stay cool, provide a sense of balance/calm in the storm.
  5. Have the personal independence, self confidence and courage to push back or challenge the system when necessary.
  6. Never forget why you’re at the table – obligation to balance strong business partnership role with employee advocacy role, people implications of decisions and never forgetting the “human” in human resources.

Building a successful and satisfying career in HR takes a lot of persistence, determination and resilience. It’s unfortunate that many organizations don’t invest sufficiently in developing HR professionals and therefore, the responsibility falls even more on the individual HR professional. You can start early but it’s never too late to get started. One last thought – consider building your career similar to a marathon, not a sprint. Best wishes to you and enjoy the journey.

If you have any suggestions, please do add.

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