Your Recipe to Be an Incredibly Successful HR Leader




  • May 19, 2016

    In my view an Incredibly Successful HR Leader:


    “Builds on an impeccable reputation, combines business and people fore-sights/insights to effectively implement innovative talent, and structure, processes, culture and leadership practices to support line managers in maximizing performance and building capabilities to achieve the aspirations of individuals, teams, the organization and its stakeholders at large.”


    Wow that is a mouthful. To put the same in just a few words:


    “A Successful HR Leader supports line managers to maximize the performance of individuals, teams and the organization”.


    The Recipe for Success

    The key to success for a successful HR leader follows the below recipe:


    Ingredients for Success


    The first two steps are what HR Uber Guru Dave Ulrich calls ‘HR Outside-In’. Firstly, as a HR business leader you can add value if you base your actions and solutions on:



    1. External Trends that might impact your business
    2. Expectations from stakeholders (customer / consumers, investors, regulators, communities, suppliers, media, etc)

    Secondly, you can only add value if you have a deep insight into the business model of the organization, how it will achieve its aspirations and the capabilities it requires to execute its strategy. Of course you will also need to understand and have a connection with the people that work in the organization.


    Establishing Your Reputation

    Knowing the environment and business you operate in and the people you work with is one thing. However, no business leader will listen to your advice and ideas if they don’t trust you. To be trusted you will need to:



    • have a personal reputation of knowing your stuff,
    • doing things for the right reason,
    • serving the interest of the business and the business leader,
    • be accessible, and
    • do what you said you would do.

    One element of your personal reputation is of course that you know your stuff. That you have the required professional, interpersonal and consulting skills in order to not only come up with the right solutions but also influence people to accept your suggestions.


    With all these ingredients in place you can then start putting the ‘dish’ together. Your ‘HR solution’ that supports the line manager in him achieving his goals and of course serves the long-term interest of the company. Key in designing your HR solutions will of course be your ability to do this in collaboration with the business team members. Even if you know that you have the solution and it will just be a waste of time to involve your business team members, I promise you that the power of a solution with many fathers has many times more change to be successfully implemented than your idea.


    Over the next couple of weeks I will take you through the different ingredients of the Incredibly Successful HR Leader recipe in more detail. I promise you that if you can get all the ingredients of this recipe working together, and add your own two elements, you will be able to ‘serve’ an HR dish that few business leaders can put down!

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