A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you

Need New Lenses?

“To change ourselves effectively, we first have to change our perceptions.

Stephen Covey


I just met a woman at SHRM14 who I wish had a microphone and a platform as her message is a great one.

As I wrote earlier this week, my goal was to supplement the typical concurrent session, general session or vendor posts with some insight and wisdom from the participants of this conference.

She didn’t want to be named and certainly didn’t want her picture taken so for now, let’s just call her “Jane.”

“Jane” is a seasoned HR professional…she grew up in the profession and has over 15 years behind her belt. She has done a little bit of everything and, within the last few months, has “left” the HR nest and become the VP of her organization.


That being said, she said she looks at HR through a different set of lenses.


Not only is she a customer of HR, which, by the way, is a set of lenses we should all try to wear from time to time, she’s now an executive leader of the organization. Among other things, she is charged with ensuring all arrows are pointed in the right direction, all resources are accounted for, effectiveness and efficiencies are achieved, and sustainability of the business is not just possible but probable.


My question to “Jane” was:

How does she view HR – or what does she think of HR – when her new lenses are on?


“Jane” shared with me a few things that got me thinking about other questions…

I wonder if you can take some time to ponder your answers to them?

  • Does your HR “plan” support your organization’s plan?  (Shoot, do you even have a plan?)
  • Are the decisions you are making on behalf of your organization aligned with its strategy?
  • Are your decisions consistent with what your organization claims is its vision, mission and values?
  • Are the resources you expand every day at work in alignment with the objectives of your organization?
  • Are you modeling process and quality improvement by analyzing your own work, by continuing to try new things and implement new ideas in an effort to find efficiencies or improve quality?
  • Are you serving as an example for change management by refusing to be a slave to your own policies and procedures and, instead, exploring creative problem solving?
  • Are you truly influencing your management and your employees or are you trying to force ideas and rules through other means?  That is to say, what have you done to build trust and relevance to what you do in order to naturally influence your customers and stakeholders?
  • Have you done your homework and identified a plan for your future workforce?
  • Do you know your current labor demographics and, more importantly, what this data “means” or might mean in five years in regards to compensation, benefits, flexible work needs, engagement, teams, etc.?
  • Have you embraced technology or, at the very least, taken the time to appreciate how it is and will continue to change how work is done?
  • Have you given any thought to where your “personnel” dollars are going today and if they will be available next year, in five years, etc.?  Do you know how your organization should be investing those dollars in a way that will sustain or increase workforce satisfaction and engagement?
  • Do you know enough about your organization’s operations to know what the future looks like for this type of business, what obstacles are out there, what potential is out there, etc.  If not, do you have a plan to learn these things (because hello, this plays a key role in how HR does its work!)?

Thanks to the five or so minutes my new friend “Jane” shared with me this afternoon, I believe these questions represent real concerns of your executive leadership.


This isn’t just the future of HR, folks…this is happening now!

How can you respond?



ChangeHuman ResourcesLeadershipRole of HRSeat at TableSHRMValue

Heather Kinzie • June 23, 2014

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