Want To Be More Influential?

0 Comments By Deb | Posted June 6, 2013

Reposting my February blog from Australia’s HRwisdom site.  Hope you enjoy it. And be sure to check out HR Wisdom for more resources.

seat at table -smallEver felt like no one cares what you think?  We all do from time to time.  Over the years, I’ve worked with all kinds of HR leaders.  Those who are influential have this in common: they understand the business, speak the language of business leaders and are skilled at sharing their opinions and insights.  This makes them credible and business leaders seek their opinions.  So how do they do it?

1. They know the business. And because they understand how the business works, they can talk about the things that matter to business leaders.  Business leaders don’t get excited because it’s ‘time to do our succession plan’.  They are interested when ‘succession planning’ means they have the people they need to solve their business problems.

Do you know your business?

Ask yourself:

-How does my business make money?

-What metrics does my organization use to determine success and what do these metrics and acronyms mean?

-What challenges does my organization face in the short-term and long-term?

-What do customers love about us?

– And of course, who are the people we cannot afford to lose?

2. They build strong relationships with the business leaders they support.  As a true partner and not a ‘rule enforcer’, these HR leaders discuss how business problems can be solved.  But neither does the HR leader simply do what the business leader requests.  The business leader might insist that a new hire be paid more than others already doing the job.  The HR leader’s role is to help him or her understand how this will be viewed when it is discovered by current employees (and of course, it always is).  In the zeal to get the job done, the business leader may forget to consider the future implications of his or her decisions.

Are you a strong business partner?

Ask yourself:

-Do the leaders I support believe that I desire and am actively working to make them successful?

-Do I go along with the opinions of the crowd or do I speak up when my opinion differs?

-Do I provide feedback and coaching so that the leader can understand how s/he is viewed and thus is able to increase his or her effectiveness?

-Do I help leaders to understand the implications of their actions?

You may be wondering how to build these skills.  I’ve had good results by simply asking questions. For example, I worked in an organization where EBITDA was the most watched metric.  Uncertain what it meant, I asked the CFO, who walked me through the steps to calculate it.  Turns out it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I expected.  Books can also be useful.  Two I highly recommend are: What the CEO Wants You to Know by Ram Charan, and Flawless Consulting by Peter Block.

Learn the business, build relationships, add insight and value and you’ll find yourself included in important business discussions.  


About the Author

By Deb Graham: Entrepreneur, organizational behavior enthusiast, world traveler and avid learner, Deb applies her curiosity and passion for personal growth to the work environment. She enjoys helping women navigate the business world, add value to their workplace and manage their careers.

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