What Does it Take to Become a Strategic Human Resources Leader?

Posted by on Apr 18, 2015 in Human Resources, Leadership, Strategic Human Resources Leader, Uncategorized | 0 comments

What Does it Take to Become a Strategic Human Resources Leader?

The most successful strategic HR leaders possess qualities that make a significant impact on their organization’s bottom line and human capital, their colleagues and their professional communities. What is in the secret sauce that gives them access and influence to leaders in their organization or, as others might say, “a seat at the table”? I had the amazing opportunity to speak with extraordinary senior HR executives in my community about what it takes to be a successful strategic HR leader. The answer is pretty simple, but not necessarily easy.

I asked them to consider three questions:

• What does it take to be a strategic HR leader?
• What advice would you give an HR professional moving up in the ranks?
• What are the challenges to becoming strategic in organizations?

Here are their answers distilled down to seven powerful concepts:

 1. Be a business person who is practicing HR

See yourself as a business person first, one who is practicing HR, instead of an HR practitioner working for the business. Just as other leaders in an organization realize the outcome of their efforts supporting the bottom line, so should the HR professional.

 2. Know the business

Understand the business and what it’s all about. Know what makes your company money. Be clear about how profits are made, who the customers are and what need your company fills in the marketplace. Think big picture. Know the business goals and what challenges are facing the organization.

 3. Anticipate what’s coming

Look forward. Analyze industry trends, especially as they relate to issues impacting human capital in your organization. Understand what’s on the horizon for your company and in the world for the next five to ten years. Know what keeps your CEO up at night. Be part of the conversation by knowing what’s going on.

 4. Demonstrate HR’s value

Come prepared to articulate what HR brings to the table from a business perspective. Be a collaborative consultant. Learn to recognize the phase of consultancy you are in and understand what role you should be playing in that moment. It is about being flexible and fluid.

 5. Build strategic relationships

Find champions, build relationships and construct an environment supportive of HR. Don’t overlook the importance of creating strong working relationships in demonstrating the value of HR. “We think” is always mightier than “I think.” Don’t go it alone!

 6. Understand timing

Figure out your organization’s timing rhythms. Is the operational norm a collaborative consensus or a “just do it” culture? Are people accustomed to making changes or are they slow to change? What does the business require? Bring people along if possible and introduce change when the time is right.

 7. Stay out of the tactical

There is a never-ending supply of tactical work in human resources. We will all be sucked in from time to time. Allowing it to be our main contribution can be costly when demonstrating HR’s value. Delegate or outsource when possible and be willing to abandon or streamline processes, policies and beliefs that no longer bring value.

Reach Forward! To get started, take an objective, nonjudgmental look at yourself. Be curious and judgement free. What strategic perspective are you bringing to the business table? How are you perceived in the organization? What skills do you need to learn or polish to become an effective strategic HR leader? How do you begin to create credibility with business leaders?

Are you ready to engage and become a strategic business leader creating value for your organization? If so, Reach Forward Coaching can help. We are offering a three-month coaching program designed just for HR professionals who are ready to become strategic leaders. To learn more, click here  http://reachforwardcoaching.com/events-resources/

 I would love to hear your thoughts. What other qualities are important to becoming a strategic HR leader?





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