What Makes HR Look Good in the Board Room – if indeed they even get there!
Its easy to see the results of the Sales Director, the Operations Director and to review the numbers of the Finance Director. These things are tangible and measurable and tend to receive the majority of the Board Room focus because of this very nature.
Most organisations will tell you that their people are the most important resource they have and that looking after them and developing them is paramount. So why is it that the person who is Head of HR is often not represented on the Board and if they are, they often have to shout loudly to be heard?
The answer may be contained in just one word: ‘evidence’. People are not machines; they cannot be counted as a stock number and additionally, unlike stock, they have a thing called choice!
There are no norms – all people are exceptions to a rule that doesn’t exist
Fernando Pessoa – Late 19th Century Portuguese Poet
Hence HR people are often left with unquantifiable results. Being experts in their own field they can see what strategic decisions have to be made in relation to developing a productive, engaged workforce but with no statistical evidence this can be hard to justify.
Dan Harrison’s 30+ years of research into what makes people successful in the workplace, in particular roles and working in particular teams now gives us the very analytics needed to:
Identify the success behaviours required to perform in a particular role
Produce profiles against which to recruit successful candidates
Assess for leadership, BCs, values-based behaviours, remote working EI and much more
Conduct progressive engagement surveys upon which to make strategic engagement decisions as well as individual ones
Armed with such analytics, the HR professional stands a much better chance of making effective business cases in the Board Room!
You’ve just completed a great project, met the deadlines and brought it in on budget. You are feeling good but nobody says a word? As days go by nothing comes back and you start to doubt your success. The internal dialogue ramps up to a point where you become totally focused on whether or not you did indeed complete a successful project. You venture to ask a couple of questions of the people from whom you may have expected some positive feedback but the bemused looks set you back even further so what’s going on?
Unconscious behaviour patterns are playing out here. You may have a high need for recognition and appreciation because your external reference system means you value other peoples opinions, external qualifications etc in order to measure your own success. Internally referenced people, on the other hand, measure their success against their own internal measures. They include the word ‘I’ to a large degree in their conversation and don’t need others to tell them they have done a good job. They will be bemused when externally referenced people ask for feedback and unconsciously view it as ‘needy’.
No feedback needed, thanks
Internally referenced people don’t take kindly to feedback because unconsciously they have a high degree of certainty that they are right (they are not always of course!). The unconscious thinking is that ‘if I don’t need feedback then nor does anyone else’. Consequently they don’t give it out and if they do it can sounds contrived and awkward. This type of behaviour can often come across as ‘confidence’ and will invariably help the internally reference person up the promotion ladder. They can also be very hard to give feedback to so here is a tip for you –
If you want to give feedback to an internally referenced person start with ‘Of course you probably already know this ……..’
Life is a paradox! Nothing is ever absolute as Yin Yang tells us. Flexibility is the name of the game and those who demonstrate it are generally more able to succeed in the world. Living by rules alone creates barriers and structures and limited thinking. Rules are often maintained long after they are obsolete. Living with constant choice, on the other hand, can create chaos for those involved not knowing what is likely to happen next and often paralysed into inaction because of it.
In an ideal world ‘All Procedure Should Increase Choice’. In other words the rules are there to create a platform of understanding from which to launch new, creative ideas. Take the rules of the road for example – without them chaos would reign and travelling from A to B or even C, D or E would become chaotic and traumatic.
Are your rules helping or hindering?
So next time you have a minute take a note of the rules (written and unwritten) that you abide by within your working environment. Are they helping or hindering creativity and progress. Equally are there some areas where rules might give people the confidence to break out of their comfort zones and make progress? Food for thought. Enjoy!
If you would like to know more about paradoxical success please get in touch with us
In my work as a leadership facilitator, I often work with organisations who include ‘Trust’ or ‘Trustworthiness’ in their company values. This is a worthy value indeed and is often described in terms of accountability, responsibility for outcomes, transparency and supportiveness – again all very virtuous. So why is it that when I ask groups of employees about their company values, they can only just about remember them and find it difficult to describe them in meaningful terms? Of course, the first reason is sometimes obvious – they have been imposed on them from above and employees have not been given the opportunity to engage with the values and work out what they mean in terms of behaviour. In which case they remain just words that appear on the walls of the organisation or on the website but not in the hearts of the employees.
But let’s take a deeper look –
In reality, as an employee, you are asking me to trust my fellow employees to complete projects and tasks that are going to keep both internal and external customers happy. Seems simple enough? So, what gets in the way? Perhaps a delve into unconscious behavioural preferences might give us some answers. The following continuums of preference will help us gain some insights.
Specifics – Big picture
People who prefer to work in the detail of a project are unlikely to trust the person with a big picture perspective to ‘do the job as well as I can’. The big picture perception is that ‘this person will never get it done because he/she is so bogged down in the detail so I can’t trust them to get it done within the deadline’.
Internal Reference – External Reference
Internally referenced people don’t need others to tell them the way things are going or whether something is going to work – they simply ‘know’. They are not always right of course but that’s ‘just the way it is’. Externally referenced people measure their success externally i.e. someone else’s validation or a measure such as a degree, medal or certificate. Internally referenced people see this as ‘flakey’ as externally referenced people often ask for feedback. So, trust flies out the window here too. Externally referenced people can view the internally referenced guy/gal as arrogant and ‘can’t be told’ so is obviously untrustworthy.
Procedures – Options
Procedural people get things done by following a procedure which has either been tried before or has been clearly laid out for them.Options people review different choices and will often rewrite new procedures, much to the annoyance of the procedurals. Definitely can’t be trusted because they change their minds!Procedurals on the other hand, from the perspective of the person who prefers choice, can’t be trusted to get creative and come up with new ideas and innovations!
Considerers – Doers
Considerers like to take their time to consider every aspect of a project before setting off. ‘Oh we’ll never get this off the ground’ shout the doers. ‘If we want it done by the deadline considerers can’tbe trusted!’ ‘Woha – hold back’ shout the considerers to the doers. ‘We need to think this through – if you are just going to take off, we will make mistakes and get it wrong’. Definitely can’t be trusted.
And of course, there are many more unconscious patterns that make us either unconsciously trust or mistrust people. These are extreme examples but nonetheless common in organisations and at grass roots level are far more dominant than the values passed down from above. So now we have conflict and are in need of an answer.
The answer is simple – recognition and acceptance. Recognising these patterns and valuing them all is paramount to success. Put a detail and global person together and they will come up with an excellent answer. A procedural person will put an options idea into practice and follow it through beautifully. But trust will only come about through awareness of and capitalisation on, behavioural preference!
If you would like to know more about behavioural preferences and how they affect our results please call Pat on 07768 92224 or email email@example.com
Pat Hutchinson is the co-author of Brilliant NLP, the Brilliant NLP Workbook and How to be Confident with NLP. She is also the author of How to Sell with NLP all published by Pearson Education. She has been working with leaders using NLP for 21 years. For more information about Pat please see her Linked In profile
Lack of balance in our opinions can make it difficult to make decisions or pull a consistent and successful strategy together. It’s crucial that we gather and consider the thoughts, experience and opinions of others to supplement and contribute to our own knowledge and experience.
If we are too uncertain and inconclusive, we will spend our time going round in circles – we need to be able to put a stake in the ground to progress actions and plans. However, too much certainty in our own opinions can move into dogmatism which can stifle contribution, collaboration and innovation.
The paradox of OPINIONS – what it can look like when the balance between CERTAIN and OPEN/ REFLECTIVE is off-kilter, and what it can look like when balance is achieved.
Leaders need to be able to balance these two seemingly opposite traits – one dynamic and one gentle – to achieve optimal behavioural performance and balanced versatility.
Harrison Paradox Technology is embraced by organizations world-wide as the best means to determine leadership capability and job performance by providing a reliable map of the paradoxical balances that make or break leaders.