"Why don't you just trust my judgment? If you question me like this, I will come in the way of your performance appraisal next year", said the business leader. "I have utmost respect for your capability. I also understand that I get paid to support the business. But, I won't be earning my salary if I don't put forward my professional opinion. If you want someone who will just execute whatever you ask without discussion, you can hire such a person at a much lower salary than what I am paid", replied the HR manager.
I spent the first five years of my career in HR in HR consulting. One of the things that has amazed me is how easy it was to walk an organization, do a diagnosis and find areas where there was potential for significant improvement. Why would internal HR leaders (who were much more experienced than me) fail to identify and act on those areas? Initially, I thought that this was mainly because of the fresh eyes, specialized diagnostic tools and learning from other contexts that the external consultant brings in. After having spent the next 10 years in internal HR, I am convinced that that there is much more to this.
Most of the organizations are not optimized for effectiveness. Organizations tend to gravitate towards a way of working that is most comfortable for the people who run it – even if it takes away from the effectiveness and efficiency. Of course, the leaders would like to believe (and make others believe) that what they are doing is the best way of functioning. Perpetuating this convenient collective delusion (or at least not disturbing it) is often one of the unstated expectations the leaders have from the HR Business Partners. This works even better if there HR leader is someone with impressive credentials – with best of the qualifications and prior experience in reputed MNCs and with a reputation for having done transformational work in those organizations. If such a person is the HR leader and he/she is not doing any transformation in the current organization, then the organization must be perfect – without any need to change!!!!