Several times this year I’ve given the wrap-up keynote speech at HR conferences. This particular speech is titled, “HR Wake Up Call.” The message is simple: HR professionals have far more business savvy and leadership opportunities than they are given credit for.
One of the ways I prove this is to quiz the audience on a range of business related topics, testing their savvy and knowledge. Nearly every question I ask gets an almost unanimous positive answer. The questions cover topics like the current unemployment rate, the current U.S. GDP and the topics of current business books.
When I ask how many in the audience have ever been responsible for a sales quota, 70-80% of the audience raises their hands. And when I ask how many have managed a P&L, between 80 and 95% of every audience raises their hands.
After the quiz is over and we discuss the answers in detail I ask how many of their executive teams know that they’ve been responsible for a sales quota or managed a P&L. Astonishingly most do not.
I find that remarkable. No. Actually, I find it disturbing. HR professionals routinely lament their lack of standing in the strategic workings of business, and yet when they’ve got the golden ticket they ignore it.
So here’s the deal: if you want to be an HR professional who focuses solely on the tactical and compliance parts of HR, then don’t let on that you’re a business person. Not letting your C-suite know that you’ve managed a business will ensure that you stay off their radar and can focus on the day-to-day stuff.
If, however, your organization can benefit from your business insight and experience, and you want to operate at a strategic level – not just the tactical level – MAKE SURE YOUR FULL BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE ARE KNOWN!
That is all.