“It is outside my control!” But is it within your influence?
A report from the field
Let’s begin by defining influence:
- the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, of others
- the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, of another or others
Managers say this a lot: “It is outside my control!” “I can’t do anything about it.” “The people at the top say we have to do it this way.”
Years ago a decision was being made that would negatively affect a couple of the offices in the company. There was a lot of talk and some low level hysteria how this decision would “cripple” some of the offices. My opinion was that some of the comments were over the top. Sure the decision was certainly not going to help those offices. But cripple? Get real!
After the final decision had been made and was officially announced I spoke to one of the managers of the negatively affected offices. He was rather quiet, not upset, but you could hear the gears turning. He was trying to figure out how to minimize the effect of the decision on his office without violating the decision.
We both saw that as his job!
Of the functional departments in an organization, HR is NOT known for its’ ability to figure out creative business solutions to make things happen. Many HR people see things in black and white, you can do that – but you can’t do this. I don’t hear the gears turning in HR people like I wished I did. They don’t spend the time trying to figure out how we can do it without violating the rules or regulations.
Be creative, run the numbers, visualize the strategy, demand results.
A CEO once said that he wanted to do something. He was told that we could “get him 80% there”. His response was classic CEO: “Well that is 80% more than I have now!!” After discussing the idea, identifying some issues and agreeing on a few additional ideas the CEO was ecstatic with the final plan.
Many HR people see themselves much like accounting - scribes of history. They are not comfortable being drivers of strategy and results. Turnover is awful, the organization does not know how to recruit, you are paying a ton of money for bloated employee benefits and engagement is non-existent.
Is it outside of your control? Or are you going to figure out how to influence it?
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Clark Ingram, MBA, SPHR, CEBS, CPCU is the principal of People Profits, www.PeopleProfits.com ©2015 People Profits, LLC