Mar 30, 2009

HR should listen before acting

In the latest edition of the Flawless Consulting book, Peter Block has a chapter on the "Shadow Side of Consulting".

Block's thinking is as much true for external consultants as internal ones ("staff functions that yearn to be consultants")

In the chapter Block asks "Who are we to arrogate to ourselves the right to intervene?" which is what operations functions always ask of internal support functions like HR.

Hence this comment by Alicia Arenas on my post at HRM Today reminds us that before we intervene we must seek to understand:

I’d like to add another suggestion: It can be overwhelming for HR professionals to make large scale changes across an organization. If your executives see you as a cost center and you want to earn more credibility, pick one department or business unit. Choose one manager with whom you have a good relationship and learn that business inside and out.
“Seek first to understand and then to be understood.” Dr. Stephen Covey. So don’t be anxious to show them how great you are and how much you can do. Listen, listen, listen and then make strategic recommendations that will solve problems, increase productivity and make the manager look good. That is how you create raving fans at your company - 1 manager at a time.