Know why your business exists.
What does it really do and why is it different than others in your industry? What makes your business more competitive in the marketplace compared to your competitors? You have to be involved in the running of the business. You have to be conversant in finance, sales, marketing, manufacturing, every area of your business. You have to know what each area does and how HR impacts that area. Your leadership style must be like the old saying “management by walking around”. Know your different departments. Visit the employees and listen, ask questions, seek to know what they do and why. People don’t care how much you know, till they know how much you care. We have all heard that, but few understand the value of that statement. People are worth the investment of your time.
It is popular to use the term Human Resources Business Partner, but are you truly a “partner”.
Or are you an HR person that simply supports a piece of the business? To be a true partner you have to understand the other side of that relationship. What is it that makes that part succeed? Fail? Flourish and get stronger? How can your efforts not just make it succeed, but, make it wildly successful.
If you were on a two-hour flight next to a potential customer of your business could you explain your company well enough to create an interested buyer? Sure you could talk about your low turnover rate, or your excellent health benefits. But, could you explain why your products are better than the competition, or what are the three things that differentiate your company from all the others that do what you do? If not you need to get to the point that you can.
All these “Rungs on the ladder of success” have a common thread – continual learning and gaining more understanding of the business. They all prove your value to the organization and your flexibility to assume new and differing challenges. You need to challenge the status quo, take chances; don’t rely on how it has always been done. Chart new paths and make it impossible to not be at the table.
The next posts will deal with the remaining rungs, growing your influence in the organization.
Please share with me your experiences in climbing the ladder. What works and what doesn’t. I look forward to visiting with you about your climb.