HR Needs to LEAN Up

Recently we’ve been working with organizations on implementing LEAN and Six Sigma. Now before you bail out on me, this blog won’t be about either of those topics…directly. As most of you know, Cirrus is all about helping organizations create shareholder value and become great places to work. One way that value is preserved is through organizational efficiency. That’s why I love the LEAN concepts. Here’s where this impacts HR.

Yes, you should work towards efficiency in all processes across the organization (including HR), but that’s not what I want to focus on here. One of the exercises you go through regularly as part of LEAN is to define the components of the customer value chain. This is a critical exercise, because it brings into sharp focus the features, functionality, and/or services that are truly adding value in the eyes of your consumer. The result is alignment.

Alignment is extremely powerful. Organizations need alignment as much as our bodies and machines. With alignment, efforts are multiplied as the organization begins resonating on the same frequency.

As an HR professional, one of your key functions should be facilitating organizational alignment based upon the culture and objectives of the organization. This alignment should permeate everything from job descriptions to the way performance reviews are conducted.  You should ask yourself how you can work with the rest of the executive team to multiply and reinforce their efforts in creating clarity around the behavioral expectations of your organization’s culture and the organizational objectives.

Compliance is important and critical, but it should not be the primary focus of your HR organization.  Employment laws and EEOC compliance simply define the rules of the game.  The primary role of HR leadership in an organization should be that of human capital optimization, talent development, and talent planning based upon the organization’s objectives, NOT the embedded arm of the EEOC or other labor agency.  You would not expect the CFO of an organization to focus exclusively on compliance with GAAP and tax law.  An effective CFO manages the financial aspects of the organization based upon the organizational objectives within the rules of GAAP and law.  GAAP and tax law  just define the rules of the game.  They affect strategy, but they are not the focus of strategy.  This concept is a major leap for most internal HR organizations, but a very important one.

You should also determine ways to quantify the effectiveness of various HR initiatives.  Put your MBA hat on for a moment.  It is important to measure the return on investment for your your department and any development, hiring, or other initiatives you are implementing to help create clarity and alignment in the organization. This will help you zero in on the initiatives that have the highest organizational impact. You should also be able to clearly state how those initiatives align with the current organizational objectives.

HR professionals, start thinking about how you can be a facilitator of alignment in your organization.  This is where you can add true value to your organization’s value chain.

It’s time for us to all to LEAN up.

6 Steps to Attract and Keep High Performers

findleadersWe hear it all the time at HR functions and from executives.  The number one challenge facing business owners is finding and keeping top talent.

Business owners, often say that they want high performers, but are they ready for them? Continue reading 6 Steps to Attract and Keep High Performers

Expectations

A group of us recently had a discussion about expectations. There can be many ways to look at expectation. Continue reading Expectations

Succession Planning – The Risk Isn’t Just at the Top

When most people think of succession planning, they usually think about what to do when a founder or other key executive moves on. However, all businesses have risk beyond just their senior personnel making an exit. What about

Continue reading Succession Planning – The Risk Isn’t Just at the Top

Corporate Succession Planning – The Risk Isn’t Just at the Top

When most people think of succession planning, they usually think about what to do when a founder or other key executive moves on. However, all businesses have risk beyond just their senior personnel making an exit. What about

Continue reading Corporate Succession Planning – The Risk Isn’t Just at the Top

What does a chiropractor have to do with organizational change?

As my chiropractor was explaining to me the process she uses to get the spine and upper cervical vertebre back into alignment, I started thinking about the similarities to creating sustainable change in organizational culture.  (yes, I’m an OB geek. I can’t help myself.)

In chiropractic medicine, the biggest challenges to the corrective process are Continue reading What does a chiropractor have to do with organizational change?

Why we should think about dying more often.

The Cirrus team and I have spent quite a bit of time together these last few weeks talking about all client projects coming to a close, new client projects in the new year, and our own plans to continue to establish Cirrus as the single point of contact for consulting and out-sourcing needs of the SMB. (I know.  That was shameless.)

I decided to read back through a copy of Steve Job’s commencement address at Stanford University from 2005.  As I was reading, the third story Steve told really struck me.   Continue reading Why we should think about dying more often.

The Missing Ingredient of Dysfunctional Teams

Teamwork Cirrus Business Group Photo

Think you need to take your management team out to do some team building activities to get them working together? More than likely the problem goes much deeper than that. While it is good for teams to spend time doing non-work related activities together, it all comes back to this one thing. If your team has it, then maybe they are just out of sync and need some time together to recalibrate. If not, then you better start here.

Continue reading The Missing Ingredient of Dysfunctional Teams