There is no silver bullet to achieving success in people strategy. People are not tangible figures and numbers – they are all different and there are no strict rules to follow. Every organisation is different as well, so rather than me giving you some tips to how to improve your HR career or your HR department, I thought I would give you some advice on how to rethink your approach to your role as a leader. This has certainly helped in my career.
Never stop learning and growing
HR directors, like all business leaders, have to remember we don’t have all the answers. In the same way you can’t expect a history graduate to know everything that has ever happened, an HR director can’t be expected to know everything about the perfect people strategy.
But what we as HR leaders can offer is inspiration – both internally and externally. How we act, what we do, how we listen, and the legacies we create are all in our control. We grow from this in how we are inspired and how we inspire others, both as people and as business leaders. This becomes contagious!
I don’t mean we have the freedom to be reckless, but there are times that we can take calculated and educated risks in our decision-making, even when we don’t know the outcomes.
By drawing on our past experiences as well as the successes (and often failures) we learn about from reading research or talking to mentors, we can be empowered to take risks. And remember that failure is not always a bad thing. We can accept failures if they happen with the best intentions and also after we have gathered the right information.
Analyse and research but put some faith in ‘gut feeling’
I always say you should do your job like you’re not afraid to lose it... This is key if you are wise enough to do your homework.
Understand your industry, your job, your employer, your competitors, your people, network outside your sector and the outcomes you need to achieve. Study, gather information, analyse, use metrics and don’t be afraid to trust your gut because, after all, this is based in your core values. Stand by your ethics and be heard.
I can’t tell you how many people I meet in our profession that are trying to be someone they're not. You are in the function because you have chosen it. Stay true to yourself and work for an organisation that fits who you are and your values. If they are aligned you will both succeed and make a positive difference. However, while respecting your individuality respect that of others as well – this will lead them to respect you and your decisions.
Take others with you
Business success is a journey. Just as you were faced with challenges and took risks you owe it to others to give them the same opportunities. Don’t be afraid to work with those who know more than you, and at the same time look for potential in others who will grow through working with you.
Embrace generations as their youth and knowledge will help you both to grow. After all, we should all be training our replacements.
Eugenio Pirri is VP of people and organisational development at Dorchester Collection. This year he was voted number nine on HR magazine’s Most Influential Practitioners ranking