My work over the last 35 years has been in leadership development. My mission has been to “go deep with motivated executives for break through transformation of their leadership, their organizations- and their lives.” When it comes to the part about “transforming organizations”, the task becomes monumental. To reach a true transformation takes time and commitment. And it takes a lot of people pulling together – it takes a village to transform a village. Usually, it starts with key players that include the CEO, the CFO and the HR/OD/Talent leadership. All of the C-Level leaders need to get on board. In my role as leadership/change consultant, I partner most closely with the CEO and the senior HR/OD leader to assess the needs, gain clarity on the ideal culture and determine the levers and initiatives that will move the organization upward and forward. Working from the outside as an external consultant, I can bring objectivity and outside perspective from working with dozens of companies who have made the journey towards creating a high performing and great to work for organization.
The two factors that help move the process forward are: 1) a committed CEO with a clear vision and 2) a strong HR/OD/Talent partner. The HR/OD/Talent partner is most effective when s/he is a member of the C-Suite. When that is so, culture change, leadership development and talent development are part of every strategic and operational discussion. The systems that HR touches are aligned to support the direction of creating a wonderful workplace – hiring, incentives, promotions, etc. Without that person at the table to bring the thinking to those discussions, consistently, those priorities and processes get lost. The CEO, even if highly committed, must concentrate on too many things to give the time and energy organizational transformation requires.
Why doesn’t HR/OD/Talent sit on the senior team? I see a couple of patterns, mostly in small to medium-sized organizations – mostly based on history or certain thought patterns. Let me describe four, though one may identify several others:
These barriers and others could hold back progress – hold back a needed, and potentially breakthrough, organizational transformation. Let’s find the way to get HR/OD/Talent leadership into the C-Suite where it belongs and begin the journey to what the organization can truly become.