Saturday, 12 September 2009

Success > Execution


   Success Factors provide one of my favourite HCM technology systems, and they do some great research.  They (Erik Berggren) have also written one of my favourite HCM (Performance & Talent) blogs, although this dried up back in April, and has now been retitled the Business Execution blog.  In fact SF itself has repositioned itself fairly dramatically as a provider of Business Execution software.

I’ve got no doubt that this is a smart commercial move, and commentary (eg Josh Bersin, ZDNet) seems to agree.

However, I would warn HR practitioners against totally accepting SF’s argument that

“Execution is what explains the financial performance of your company.  Execution creates sustained competitive advantage.”


I mean, yes, this is largely true, and I do totally support Erik’s comment that:

“With an average of 70% of your operating expenditure comprised of labor (for not taking contractors into account) there is no bigger expense post to optimize if you want to drive better execution.  It’s not a matter of what but rather who drives the execution of your strategy.”


I think SF’s perspective is fine as long as you believe, like Josh, that Human Resources is a business support function (even one that has a direct impact on competitive advantage).

But if you believe, like me, that HR can be a business leadership function, then you’re going to want to look for a bit more from your people than simply their ability to execute strategy.  You’re going to want them to inform strategy as well.


Successful teams execute, but they provide the basis for new business opportunities too.





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