Recently, my department’s leadership team took time for our annual off-site strategic planning meeting. We take 2 days away from the office and work on our relationship. Kidding, not kidding. We take time to work On our department and not In it. We all tend to get bogged down with the day to day and this is our opportunity to take that 30,000 ft view to see what direction we need to go.
This time, we did an exercise to find our Core Focus (check out Gino Wickman’s Traction for more info). We talked about what employees we currently have that we would clone if we had the ability and what qualities they brought that made them clone-able. It was interesting to see who this group of 9 people named, lots of repeats, which is good. It means we’re on the same page.
We decided on: Knowledgeable, Accountable, Respectful, Flexible, Visionary. We will review in 30 days to be sure these are the right 5 for our Core Focus.
As I’m documenting this work for us to share with our staff, I began to think about how *I* personally can and do embody these. And how can I continue.
Knowledgeable: At work, I need to learn more about our business. About what it is like to work *in* the business. I am responsible for HR and IT. If that isn’t almost always ON the business and not in it, I don’t know what is. It’s easy for me to see the big picture, but I’m not always good about looking at the weeds. I know HR. I’ve got that down (well, I know where to go for answers). I’m getting better at IT. Need to work on our business side.
Accountable: This is harder. I think I do a pretty good job on doing what I will when I say I will, of admitting when I make a mistake, of admitting where I need assistance. I’m not sure I do a good job of holding my peers accountable. Part of that has to do with knowledge. I’m not exactly sure what they do, so it’s harder to hold them accountable. If it’s in my actual purview, I’m better.
Respectful: I already have a story about this. The key here is I honestly believe that respect is given. We need to start at a point of giving someone respect, and not making them earn it. There may be occasions where someone needs to earn it back – there are a few people I know/work with who fall into this category. They have proven themselves to be unaccountable, unreliable, disrespectful and must therefore do some work to earn back my respect. But when I start with someone, I want to be on the page of mutual respect.
Flexible: If this isn’t key to a successful HR person, I do not know what is, especially if you are, want to be an HR professional who doesn’t want to just push paper across your desk, but want that seat at the table. I never enjoyed the paper, weedy parts of HR – which is kind of weird as I do like the compliance side. It’s the complexities of compliance I enjoy, not making sure the FMLA paperwork is filled out properly, especially when programs & apps exist to help employees do just that. I want to be available, to know enough to be able to “think outside the box” to help employees solve problems while staying within our policies, procedures & legal requirements. Challenge Accepted!
Visionary: Seeing the big picture. I spend my time working on the business anyway; I have to see the big picture, know what’s going on in order to properly support and lead the IT and HR functions for the department. As I learn more about what we do, my vision will become clearer and stronger and then I can be a better leader to help guide the department rather than just put out fires.