Will the earth be moving under our feet?

We scored great seats tomorrow night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here in #VegasBaby to hear James Taylor and Carole King

And that’s gotten me thinking about this theory that I have that the music that you listened to in your high school and college years is your music for life.  It’s what was playing in your head during the most formative experiences in becoming who you are and it is sort of imprinted in your brain as your music.  And it’s the music that still moves you to tears or to dance.  It’s true for me.  There are James Taylor and Carole King songs that, when I hear them, transport me to a specific dorm room, a specific “dance in the gym,” or a particular heartbreak.

And, odd as it may be, that makes me think about CEOs and their expectations from HR.  I think that CEOs look to their current HR for what HR gave them in their first general management positions.  I think the HR they got then is their HR for life.  So, if in their first divisional GM role their HR support was compliance oriented, transaction focused and created more hurdles than solutions, then that’s what they expect from their HR now – and it’s hard to break out of that expectation set and learn to demand a new set of solutions. 

Think about it.  If true, then we should be feeling the earth move under our feet soon.  We should be seeing some great strides forward in the strategic role HR plays as the current generation of CEOs gives way to the next generation.  Because the next generation of CEOs worked in organizations where HR was led and is being led by some of the great HR leaders who operate strategically and are true solutions providers to the business.  I’m talking about the Libby Sartains, Dennis Donovans, Dennis Dowdells, and Rick Beyers of the world:  HR leaders who look, sound and act like business leaders.  They – and lots just like them – have trained a whole new generation of executives to look to HR for solutions to the most important business issues of the day.  And when those executives get to the CEO’s office HR had better be prepared to start swinging for the fences!  Because the expectations for business solutions from HR will be huge!

So… the music of our college years stays with us just as the HR of fledgling management years stays with business leaders.  Makes sense to me.



Filed under Business Success, China Gorman, HR, Leadership, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Will the earth be moving under our feet?

  1. steveboese

    China – liked the analogy. I wonder how you feel about the pace of change that you describe, will we see meaningful changes in the perception and impact of this next wave of HR leaders in 5 years? 10 years?

  2. What a perfect comparison China! That gives the profession something to look forward to in the future. The challenge for today is helping CEO’s listen to new music and adjust their expectations. Some will and others will always listen to the Beatles.

  3. Dave Ryan

    I love the connection that music can actually provide a soundtrack to each or our lives. I hope you are right and that HR (and to use another music connection) is just like The Jefferson’s And Movin’ on Up… to a deluxe Seat at the Table. 🙂

  4. What a great analogy. My first foray into HR was working for the former. What a learning experience! I knew then that I had to move beyond this level of thinking. She abhorred anything beyond the paper push. Great post

    • Thanks, Ron. I know you’ve seen a lot in your corporate career. I really think that when the new generation of CEOs start taking over, HR may have a supply problem! And I know SHRM is working on this.

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