Tag: strategy

7 Ways to Use Strategy to Your Advantage as an HR Leader

Posted on December 8th, by JP George in Business and Workplace, Leadership. No Comments

Human resources is an exciting field that offers leaders the ability to optimize their professional potential while inspiring employees to do the same. However, attaining profound success as an HR leader necessitates the consistent use of proven strategies and systems that will generate the ongoing growth and optimized operations you seek. With that idea in mind, you should consider the value of implementing some or all of these growth strategies:


  1. Optimize your meetings

It’s no secret that holding regular meetings is the key to ensuring that everyone understands the company’s vision and goals. However, this does not mean that all HR leaders have developed the great habit of optimizing the meetings they hold. Don’t commit this oversight. Developing and implementing strategies that will make your meetings more effective can have a wide range of desirable outcomes, some of which include enhanced daily operations, elimination of miscommunication, and the development of a company culture conducive to open discussion and debate. Luckily, there are hundreds of ways that you can optimize your meetings. Some of them include:


  • using PowerPoint presentations
  • holding virtual meetings
  • optimizing engagement by asking questions and requesting feedback
  • scheduling strategically so all employees are present
  • employee appreciation ideas for staff members who have performed exceptionally well


  1. Establish a vision

If you’re serious about operating effectively as an HR leader, establishing a vision is a must. The vision is important because it provides you with a simple yet thorough understanding of what you are attempting to accomplish. In many cases, HR leaders find it helpful to develop both a personal vision and a company vision. The personal vision involves you defining what you will do for the company as an individual participant within it. The company vision is much more than deciding on administrative items like who will provide your payroll software or cadences for employee appreciation. The company vision states how you and all of the other employees will work together to generate a specified outcome that promotes the organization’s perpetual expansion.


  1. Be more goal-oriented

In addition to establishing a vision, HR leaders who are ready to excel within the workforce must become goal-oriented people. No matter how internally motivated you are, it won’t matter much if you do not develop objectives and then work towards realizing them. Goal-oriented people are more effective in getting work done because they have a clear understanding of what they’re attempting to do and the steps they must take to get there. This is one of the reasons that the development of SMART goals has become so popular amongst career coaches. The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Sensitive.


  1. Prioritize for staff development

A company is only as effective as its individual employees are. Since this is true, HR leaders who want their organizations to succeed must focus on optimizing the personal and professional aptitude of their employees. This objective can be accomplished in numerous ways, such as providing staff members with incentives to operate in excellence and expedience. Holding regular “Employee of the Month” contests is a great way to make this happen. Consistently offering employees opportunities to enroll in ongoing education and training courses is another effective strategy you might employ. Also remember that employee recognition is an integral part of the staff development process because public praise motivates people to consistently operate in excellence.


  1. Update technology

HR leaders who are ready to take their companies to a new level of efficacy and excellence should focus on updating their technology. This strategic approach works for numerous reasons, including the fact that it enables your company to maintain a cutting edge image in the eyes of the general public. Finding great technological updates also makes life easier for your employees by enabling them to get more done, in less time, and in a more convenient manner.


  1. Take feedback seriously

The most successful HR leaders are so because they are regularly obtaining feedback from trusted counselors, mentors, bosses, and other important individuals in their sphere of influence. Since this is the case, strategize your own success by taking this feedback seriously and learning how to optimize and expedite everything you’re doing for the company. In addition to making the organization more effective, taking feedback seriously improves your efficacy and functions as motivation for employees to operate at a higher level of excellence.


  1. Think outside the box

Although the phrase “think outside the box” is trite, it’s stated over and over again because the methodology is oftentimes effective in helping people generate results, overcome obstacles, and break through barriers. With this idea in mind, make sure that you’re not operating in a conventional, cookie-cutter manner as you lead your staff. Rather, be open to new ways of thinking and acting that are relevant, effective, and fun.


If you’re an HR leader who wants your company to be a smashing success, you should know that thinking strategically is a great way to make it happen. Since this is so, be sure to consider using some or all of the strategies outlined in this post. Doing so will likely take your company’s level of excellence and efficacy to a new level!


About the Author: A previous guest contributor to Women of HR, JP George grew up in a small town in Washington. After receiving a Master’s degree in Public Relations, she has worked in a variety of positions, from agencies to corporations all across the globe. Experience has made JP an expert in topics relating to leadership, talent management, and organizational business.

Bring a Calming Voice to Conflict Resolution

Posted on February 19th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

Your boss just announced you’ll be working this weekend—when you’ve already made plans. Earlier, your presentation was sabotaged by the project leader. And before that, your assistant dropped the ball on your travel arrangements, so you’re going to miss the first day of an important conference.

Every day, the workplace offers the potential for conflict. Navigating business relationships and on-the-job discord can be tricky, and women tend to approach and resolve it differently than our male counterparts. Luckily, the qualities that make us different can be used to our advantage.

How Women Approach Conflict Resolution

Conflict triggers are different for men and women:

  • Women feel conflict when relationships are threatened. For men, it’s more about their position in the business world.
  • Women tend to be more sensitive to personality conflicts, as well as to gender-role stereotypes – especially if the stereotype has little to do with the job. (Think of the only female in a meeting being asked to fetch coffee.)
  • Men tend to shake off workplace slights, negative personal comments and personality differences more quickly.

When conflicts arise, women talk in depth and at length about the disagreement, and focus on their participation in the relationship. They voice concerns about fairness and can be more accommodating to others’ needs than to their own. In contrast, men tend to use more linear language when discussing a dispute.

The Strategies Women Offer

The good news is that women don’t have to conform to workplace gender and conflict perceptions. To paraphrase Gandhi, women can “be the change we want to see in the (working) world.” We can change the gender triggers that may make us feel that we’re worth less – or are less worthy to be at the table. Here are a few strategies to employ:

  • Exp

    ectations tend to follow behavior. So, if women behave as though we are entitled (to better pay, a voice or a promotion) we will be treated as though we are entitled.

  • The expectation that women won’t negotiate as strongly as men can be changed by doing just that.
  • Reduce typical gender triggers by repositioning the framework of the conflict or negotiation. For example, instead of taking it personally or focusing on the relationship, reframe the disagreement as counterproductive to the project, which affects everyone on the team.
  • Separate your identity from the conflict. Focus on what is being said, not how it makes you feel. You may even realize that the message says more about the sender than you.
  • Women often enter negotiations with a collaborative mindset, believing that both sides can benefit. This can be a great advantage over men, who often see negotiations as a competitive exercise.

At work, women may avoid speaking or standing up for their beliefs, so they don’t appear too masculine or aggressive. We do this because of our fear of harming relationships.

It might help to lose the term “aggressive,” with its negative connotations, and embrace the term “assertive.” In addition, flip the fear of perception on its head. Instead of being concerned with how you will look if you take an assertive stance on an issue you care about, think about how you will look if you don’t. After all, you don’t want your employer to wonder why they ever hired you, right?

About the author: Melissa Russell writes on leadership management and negotiation. She also writes on topics such as business administration and corporate sustainability for a number of universities through the University Alliance. Find Melissa on Twitter @M_L_Russell.


Leading Executive Conversations Part I: The Executive Perspective

Posted on October 9th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

A meeting with an executive can be different than a meeting with a manager.  You’ve got to connect with the executive’s perspective including their challenges, their opportunities and their overall strategy for building results.

Ultimately, success in executive meetings is attitudinal.  You have to believe that you have a right to be there and that you have something of value to offer them. Effective meetings are more flexible than presentations.  You need to be as prepared for what you will hear and learn as for what you will say.

The starting place is to understand the perspective of the executive that you are meeting. Perspective tells you the executives’ priorities and what it takes to bring value to each of them.

For example, CEOs tend to be externally focused on their industry and the trends that are driving business strategies.  They value ideas and examples outside their company and use external context and perspective to make decisions. The COO is driving lines of business and has specific metrics in mind for accelerating growth or managing costs. He will make decisions based on your ability to impact or influence those metrics. The CPO (Chief People Officer) is managing people needs against business goals and has to attract and retain the right talent with a competitive blend of benefits.  All the C-suite executives are looking ahead and trying to leverage what’s to come rather than micro managing what happened yesterday.

As we work with people on executive-level conversations, there are two questions that we get asked most often.

First, people worry, “Will I have the answer for anything this executive might ask me?”

You should definitely be prepared but rarely is this conversation a deep dive into information.  Top level conversations are about strategies and the big picture initiatives that will drive them.  For example, if you are the human resources manager and you come to talk to me about a new step you want to implement in our hiring process, I’m not likely to want to know how you will roll-out the step.  And, if you bring too much detail on implementations, you’ll quickly lose me.  Instead, I’m more interested in thinking about the impact of the step across all our constituencies.  Top executives don

Talent Management 101: Find the Jack Bauers

Posted on September 26th, by Shaun Emerson in Leadership. No Comments

I’ve watched every episode of 24. My wife bought me the Season 1 DVD set one Valentine’s Day a number of years ago. It sat on a shelf for a few months until one day I inserted episode 1 into the DVR to help me through my treadmill workout. It only took that one episode and I was hooked.

I couldn’t stop watching. 24 was my crack. I had to have it. I purchased every season and would devour episode after episode. The intrigue, the action, the back-stories and Jack Bauer obsessed me. But I was also taken by what I considered an interesting juxtaposition in most seasons. While CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) was faced with addressing the newest catastrophic threat, it was also an organization teeming with very ordinary HR and organizational issues.

No matter the extent of the danger or the number of lives in the balance, 24’s writers would weave in workplace jealously, sexual harassment, office romance, insubordination, clueless bureaucratic managers and title seekers.

As a businessperson, I was fascinated by these plotlines. Here is a workplace locked in a battle against terrorists and evildoers yet employees were exhibiting some of the same frivolous and selfish behavior as would occur in any other organization. If truth is indeed stranger than fiction, what chance do we have to create high performing workplaces when our missions are certainly less critical than saving the world?

When I left “big company” life to start my first company, I believed that a small company that I led wouldn’t have the same frustrating people and bureaucratic issues that seemed to haunt most days in big company life. I could eliminate those issues by selecting the “right” people, clearly articulate our strategy and provide our people meaningful work. I was either naïve or ineffective. May be a little bit of both. For in this business and the other 4 small companies that followed, people issues would constantly emerge.

24 helped me to realize that whether it’s big business or a start-up, whether the competitor is another widget company or an international terrorist, most employees could care less about the big picture, the strategy, the mission. They are thinking or acting with their selfish interests in mind.  Except for Jack Bauer. Find the Jack Bauers. Nurture the Jack Bauers. They will make the difference.

Photo via soccer28.glogster.com