Article: Reinventing HR to develop leaders


Reinventing HR to develop leaders

HR should help the leaders “buy” development the way they want to buy, NOT how you want to “sell”
Reinventing HR to develop leaders

A successful HR professional positions his capabilities as a trusted advisor long be-fore the organization is ready to use


Across organizations, HR has taken a lot of hits for not being up to par. In a recent survey conducted by Deloitte, only 8 per cent of Indian CEOs rated fully prepared to reinvent themselves and deliver the required business impact. This is slightly higher than the global average of 5 per cent, but is still low. These same CEOs rate the reinvention of HR as one of the Top 5 priorities. To us, this is a huge opportunity for HR, specifically in L&D. There is a need to come up with real strategies and approaches rather than arguing that HR & L&D have to better their actions. The new or “reinvented” HR need to understand what the business is truly trying to accomplish and take charge of delivering real value to developing leaders who are their internal customers. While it is all well and good—even honorable really—to strive to be a trusted advisor, what does it take to earn that status with internal customers in today’s challenging environment? The three key principles that point the way to becoming a trusted advisor to developing leaders are:

1. Creating the trust in TRUSTED ADVISOR

When HR professionals play the role of consultants to developing leaders, it is known that if they don’t have a strong, trusting relationship with their internal customers, they will never be seen as a trusted advisor will struggle to be successful. First and foremost, creating a trusting relationship requires both a mindset and a set of actions. An advisor must truly believe that his/her job is to help business leaders (and therefore the business) solve their problems. The HR agenda needs to be specifically and directly focused on their agenda. In addition to having the right mindset, L&D and HR leaders need to demonstrate their sincere interest in helping the customer. The discipline of relationship selling is to know how to show empathy, how to demonstrate credibility and competence, and how to anticipate concernsIt is this mindset and set of actions that a consultant must have to approach the process with authenticity, passion and positive intent. It is about who you are and what you do and is communicated by actions focused on the customer and their needs. This leads to trust.

2. Facilitate business leader’s “buying” process

The best advisory process enables the business leader to buy. The antithesis of the trusted advisor is the consultant who believes that if s/he just follow these five (or seven or nine) process steps, he/she will be successful. The action of a trusted advisor is to help leaders “buy” development the way they want to buy, NOT how s/he wants to “sell”. The discipline required to facilitate the business leader’s buying process is:

• Helping them discover the urgency behind their need and defining the problem that needs to be solved.  

• Helping them see which elements of a solution have value for them and which don’t.

• Helping the leader gather support for the solu-tion within organization, creating alignment for action.

• Helping them buy cannot become successful by following a consultant-centric process; it requires a two-way conversation between the trusted advisor and customer to understand the problem and to recognize the urgency.

3. Making sense of complexity 

The good and the bad news today is that we have almost an infinite amount of information available at our fingertips. The responsibility of a trusted advisor is to help the business leader make sense of this complexity, cutting through the clutter to find the right solution that will solve their problem. The discipline of the trusted advisor is to link their solution to the advantages and benefits for developing leaders.

Applying the discipline

Simply put, while all HR consultants take action, many take the path of least resistance, doing what is comfortable or what they think is necessary. However, it takes discipline to become a trusted advisor, and once HR and L&D earn it, it is a coveted position that provides greater business-level value to business leaders and to the organization. There’s a need to take ownership for creating trust. Facilitate the customer’s buying process. Make sense of complexity. These efforts will produce ongoing, long-term value based relationships that present multiple opportunities for HR to help their organization.


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Topics: Leadership, Leadership Development

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