Posted by: Martin Fox | June 27, 2012

What should HR focus on to help drive high performance companies?

ImageThis morning, I read a LInkedIn post titled “Why HR doesn’t get it”. I get the value of a shock headline in generating readers, but perhaps it makes sense to ask what HR should focus on. A quick story on that topic…

Early in my career, I migrated from a Fortune 500 OD team to join a start-up as the head of HR (I was the 3rd person hired – a big title for a 3 person company). I was filled with great theory and eager to apply it to the new business. After sharing the wonderful things I would do for the company, the CEO pulled me aside and gave me the best HR advice I ever received (paraphrased).

“… Martin, HR is critical to our company’s success and your role is crystal clear. 1. Find the best people for today and the future. 2. Help create a fun, highly collaborative organization where everyone knows where we are going and engage highly-trained employees in determining how we get there. 3. Build a diverse workforce and create diverse teams to improve our decision-making. 4. Never forget that our leadership team serves the people in the organization, removing barriers to individual, team, and organization success. 5. Help get our people and organization adept at change and ready for the future. 6. Never pull out another OD theory unless it applies to one of the things I just mentioned….”

A short time later, we had grown from 3 people to a high performing family of 3,600. We had an 85% market share and were extraordinarily profitable. My CEO was onto something. Not only does HR have to get it, “getting it” is a lot of fun. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It is only one perspective after all. What is your perspective?

Martin Fox with the Center for Global Leadership and LeadershipWise.


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