4 Things You Won't Hear Successful HR Leaders Say


Too often, HR leaders find themselves sidelined- not included in high level discussions or decisions, or buried on the organization chart.  In the end, these leaders find their influence waning.

Successful HR leaders avoid this, instead becoming an indispensable advisor to their stakeholders.  It turns out, their mindset is different-- and here’s what you don’t hear them say:

#1: No one includes me when there are important conversations or decisions being made.  

Successful HR leaders build strong alliances, providing value to stakeholders so they’re included in these important conversations.  But here’s the gist: They are included not because they are in HR.  They are included because they bring a unique, valuable and insightful perspective to the conversation.  Their stakeholders want them to be there because they challenge ideas and present creative alternatives.

#2: I don’t know what our top 3 business goals are for the year.

Successful HR leaders know the business, understand priorities and build their strategies to solve for talent problems that get in the way of those goals being realized.  It really is that simple. Many times in my work with HR leaders, I find the bulk of their teams’ work addresses what they believe HR should be done based on “best practices”, but it’s not clear that it actually addresses an existing (or even forecasted) business problem.

#3: I don’t have time to think about strategy- there’s too much work to get done.

Business line leaders expect that HR leaders will flawlessly execute, and too many HR leaders focus on operational excellence. To become a strategic advisor to the business, HR leaders should spend at least 4 hours every week exploring strategic alternatives, learning about business strategies or competitors, or removing obstacles to the team achieving their goals.  Focusing solely on execution of details makes it difficult (if not impossible) to be a trusted advisor.

#4: I’m always justifying every dollar in my budget.

I’ve seen it time and again-- once successful HR leaders show how their team adds value to the bottom line and you are providing unique and necessary solutions to urgent business problems, budget scrutiny will become a thing of the past.


Catherine Malloy Cummings

20 N Upper Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL, 60606, United States