Resources: Blog Post

January 11, 2016

Joining the dots: HRís strength is in networks

Ian's Morning Musing image

One of the many challenges we face today is sifting through the plethora of content with which we are deluged every day. This blog is just one simple example.

Last week, I mentioned KISS and simplicity being a key focus for HR. I place a high value on having a network of smart people around me, and I see this as a contributing factor to keeping up-to-date on whatís happening in the HR profession. Belonging to an association where I receive pragmatic, topical and pertinent content is also professionally invaluable to me. Executive book reviews are a great source of knowledge and just one example of idea generators that help SCNetwork stay relevant to the niche we serve.

This past week, details of Amy Morinís book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Donít Do, crossed my desk. I was intrigued further when I read the claim that Amy is the only person in the psychology industry who is talking about mental strength on a global level. Really?

One example of the 13 Things is that mentally strong people do not fear taking calculated risks. It is explained that, sometimes, peopleís fears and anxieties do not actually match the risks that they are taking. As we know, a calculated risk is the ability to estimate the degree of probability/success in any undertaking. If you saw the movie, ďThe Big ShortĒ over the festive season, youíll be aware of Christian Baleís performance. He played the role of eccentric hedge fund manager Michael Burry, who drew an early, and laughed upon, conclusion that the U.S. housing market was extremely unstable. This is an extreme case because of the billions of dollars involved, but what were the chances of this happening had Burry been buried in a bureaucracy? Slim, for sure. However, the point to consider is whether our organizations truly encourage risk-taking. Do we value it enough? Is there an upside to being good at risk-taking if organizations publicly hang those who try and fail?

Also crossing my desk this week was an article that suggests one-on-one coaching misses the mark. Given the dollars expended on executive coaching, this claim is worthy of some introspection. Whether the failure rate is as high as surveys are suggesting is questionable. Research by the Stanford Business School indicates that delegation is the most important skill upon which executives want coaching. Most of the work we do requires us to involve others. Success is often driven by the capability of the team. Delegation is critical to take advantage of the teamís abilities. A key element in measuring a calculated risk includes the ability to measure employee competency and skill Ė and the ability to delegate effectively largely hinges on this ability. This is about evaluating talent. In essence, the article questions how a third-party executive coach, working privately one-on-one, can do that successfully. The conclusion drawn in the article is that executive coaching fails half the time.

HR must Connect DotsAs we start another year, in our attempt to keep things simple, our ability to synthesize information is crucial. A few years ago, we talked about knowledge networks. We argued that creating knowledge was about bringing information together, making sense of it, and then capitalizing on our ability to create something of value from it. Weíve looked at the importance of social networks and identifying key resources who are at the hub for data and information flow. Our ability to join the dots is now a core skill. Itís not just about how we make sense of the content we all see, itís about having a network of people who are doing a good job of making sense of whatís going on in organizations/industries. What works. What doesnít. What is important. Whatís fluff and irrelevant.

As I reflect on Amy Morinís list of 13 attributes, all of them are worthy of some thought. Are they relevant as we think about developing our leaders? In my view, most are.

So, are they linked to the external executive coaching we provide? Who is joining the dots?
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About the AuthorIan Hendry headshopt
Ian Hendry is the president of the Strategic Capability Network. In his Morning Musings, he provides insight on issues facing todayís business leaders and looks at subject matter related to upcoming SCNetwork events. He is also VP HR & Administration at Interac†Association.

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