The Road Less Travelled – Can HR Head Become CEO?
Read this awesome prelude by Patrick Mullarkey at his Mentoring blog who is hosting the next HR carnival. Looking at his high spirits, I must say its going to be bigger and better this time. I read the cover story ” The CEO Path” published in the last month edition of the famous HR magazine called “People Matters“. I thought it would be an interesting & a good career advice for us. The story revolves around a survey conducted to know whether HR would be keen take up a business role in future. Surprisingly, out of the total 71 respondents, only half of them had a desire to aim for the Top Job.
What can be the reason for such a response?
Does the HR scared to take up the TOP role in an organization? OR
Does the HR fully equipped to carry out the responsibility at such a senior level?
What knowledge (apart from people management) will help in the transition to the TOP Job?
The cover story had thoughts shared by eminent HR leaders and what attribute they think an HR person need to have so as to graduate to the top position. I present to you my summary of the thoughts that I liked on what it takes for a HR Head to become the Top Executive in an organization?
- HR should build on their knowledge of finance and must be focussed on execution
- HR must get acquainted with the line function
- Knowing the customer requirement, both internal as well as external
- Should get exposure to Business Development
- HR to work under business performance pressure (quarter-to-quarter review based)
- Understanding how business makes money
- Be a part of the active committees within the organization
2. John Hofmeister – former President Shell Oil & founder and CEO – Affordable Energy Consulting
- Keep learning new skills
- Get multi-functional experience
- Learning how the business operates, margins and costs
3. Dr. Santrupt Misra – Director, Group HR – Aditya Birla Group & CEO – Black Carbon Business
- Don’t shy away from reaching out to people for help
- Get yourself a mentor or coach who knows all about the business
- Get help and build on knowledge from friends and collegues who are part of the line function
- Get yourself acquainted with the financial mambo-jambo
- Get a 360 degree view of the business
4. Pratik Kumar – President – Wipro Infrastructure Engineering & EVP HR
- Think beyond your role
- Ask all your questions, no matter how trivial
- Be humble and acknowledge the fact that you don’t know however have the willingness to learn
5. Pankaj Bansal – Co-founder & CEO People Strong
- HR professionals must work in sales function
- They should get out of their comfort zone
- Should try to streamline transactional operations as it eats up most their time
- Develop risk taking abilities
6. Rajeev Dubey – President (Group HR, Corporate Services, and Aftermarket) Mahindra & Mahindra
- Do not get lost in the wonderland of HR
- Always get connected to the strategic and transactional requiremnt of the business
- Learn on adding value to business processes that can enhance innovation and productivity
- Go out in the field, work on the shop floor and try to understand business
I am thankful for the valuable insights that were shared by people who themselves have risen to the top position. However, there are some inherent qualities which an HR professional already possess which helps in building a good leader for the TOP job. So…
What are the inherent strengths that an HR professional already bring to the table?
- Gives an overview of the entire organization which is not function or role specific
- Understanding the people side of the business
- High emotional intelligence and strong people connect
- Good in team working
- Energise people passionately
- Helping people succeed in a business environment
Do you aspire to take up a senior role in your organization?
Do you think your current knowledge and exposure will help you climb up the ladder?
Is the HR BRAVE enough to take up this challenge?