— September 11, 2019
Wanna know one of the the most significant crimes committed against the business community?…the separation of HR and management.
This antiquated dividing wall has done more to set up businesses to waste time, money and talent. Every day I see money steadily seeping through policies, processes, and old school HR & management practices.
When you take a moment to really think about it (which is what I’m asking you to do here) this separation doesn’t really make sense. But…we’ve been doing it for a long time. (all the time I’ve been working…which is a really long time). And you know how human nature is… when you do something for a long time it becomes an accepted norm – even if it’s not sensible, logical or particularly useful.
If you’ve seen the recent commercials featuring the president of SHRM, Johnny Taylor, you probably noticed his message – we think people issues are interlaced with business issues – you can’t separate people issues from business issues.
Now think about this logically…how can it be any different? People run businesses – how can you separate people from themselves?
See what I mean?
Referencing the president of SHRM is not an indictment of his message. It’s a viable and critical message and It’s a testimony to how distorted traditional, conventional business thinking has become related to human resources.
So, my mission as a fellow business owner in the HR space is to challenge that thinking for our own good so that every action we take in running and growing our businesses will be done with updated, renewed more profitable thinking. It’s what I term new school, smart management. In fact, I’ve created a framework to help do just that.
Over the 20+ years I’ve worked in this space, I’ve become keenly aware of the handicaps and gaps this dividing wall has created and I’ve set out to address them in a comprehensive, sustainable way. But to fully leverage it and it’s financial benefits, a substantial mental shift will need to occur.
Here is an absolute truth in leadership: Without first recognizing old thinking and how it influences current leadership and business management, we’ll continue to practice and promote faulty thinking created by the very industries designed to help us.
And therein lies truth #2: These industries are slow to really innovate. Notice I didn’t say – initiate a few tweaks here and there. I mean truly innovate.
The challenge with meaningful industry innovation is the activity surrounding a group’s existence must be self-sustaining and self-confirming to exist. A professional organization, such as SHRM for example, is not going to upend itself into irrelevancy. And in the case of HR, this is why there are emerging fringe initiatives such as Disrupt HR. They are valiant attempts at innovation, working to change an industry that desperately needs to be and grow its relevancy.
Here’s the problem though – they typically include industry practitioners but leave out the very people that need to be included – business leadership and management. They in effect become an industry outlier echo chamber – rallying the already converted in an effort to construct conversion strategies of the very people they should be including. The ultimate aim and hope, of course, is to gain a respected seat at the table and finally gain the ear of the “real playmakers”. (I put that in quotes because anyone who works with human resources is a playmaker – but many are not recognized as such.)
I say all this to say… we’ve got to see HR, business leadership and management from a holistic, intimately integrated perspective – as SHRM president says, “inextricably intertwined”. We have to see business management as people management – people management as business management. How can it really be seen any other way?
Now if you’re thinking this is just so darn logical – how can the opposite view exist?…both in HR & management. The answer?…severe blind spots. The opposite view is so embedded in our practices it doesn’t even occur to us to take a step back and apply a critical eye.
Here’s a few examples of common old school business practices that persists throughout our corporate landscape every day!
> Tons of money spent on recruiting talent while little to none spent on training and developing the very managers they’ll be reporting to.
> Dysfunctional, unhealthy managers with free reign to treat employees any way they want resulting in a revolving door of talent …and the kicker?… the manager is given raises!! (This one makes my head hurt).
> Employees overworked with no sense of acknowledgment or appreciation.
> Employee input for improvement not sought or ignored…or doing the proverbial once a year employee survey with no meaningful response initiated.
(I had a client who did this and the employees told me they just started lying or not answering questions because if they told the truth nothing would happen anyway…can you imagine?)
> Managers who rarely even talk to team members
> The meaningless “annual appraisal” which everyone hates – (how helpful is it to give feedback related to past performance over the course of the year for which they have no ability to change?)
> Letting toxic employees persist
Of course, there are many more. I know you could probably add yours. The point is every one of these “people” situations impact business management and operations with a direct line to the P/L.
Which brings us to an important point. Do you know how to calculate the financial impact of these types of scenarios? To do so is an essential competency of every business leader/manager and their HR counterpart. If you don’t know how, don’t feel bad, very few do. So here are a few resources to get you started:
> Our executive briefing Show Me The Money: Solving the Mystery of ROI to Unlock Profits and Increase Company Value. It’s available on Amazon, but since you’ve taken the time to read this post, here is a link to a complimentary pdf version.
> A 12-minute how-to video with a downloadable worksheet: How to Financially Calculate an Underperforming Manager
And this leads to what I see as the bottom line of all this. If business leaders where aware of the financial cost of not connecting people management to business management, more attention and substantive action would be taken.
So what’s your thinking as a business leader?…old school?…new school…somewhere in between? I invite you to commit to a full transition to new school, smart management. Our definition of smart management is the ability to skillfully apply business + people acumen for effective, profitable business operations and growth.
For our clients who have taken the leap, they’ve grown in their confidence and enjoyment of leading and managing their business, business unit, department or team, experiencing substantially less stress and more moola in their pockets.
Learn more about our smart management framework. It’s an easy to follow blueprint with 9 foundational building blocks that help you implement new school management practices and principles in a comprehensive, sustainable way and from which you can learn how to financially calculate the impact with each step.