Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Pushing HR forward


   Did you notice RBL’s (Ulrich & co’s) comment on by recent post on HR transformation?  What do you think – which of these does push HR forward?


Anonymous said...

It is fun to have debates in the field. We learn from differences. But, in to this case, I (one of the authors) have to disagee with the review on two that fronts. First, for 40 or 50 years, HR has focused from the inside/out. HR has worked to meet the needs of its "customers" as employees and focused inside of the organizatoin. We strongly believe value is defined by the receiver more than the giver and that ultimate receivers of value are those outside of the organizaiton who give it resources (customers, investors, communities, etc.). It is hard to redefine HR in terms of how it creates value to those outside, not just inside, but when this happens, HR is not just an afterthought of business, but it is part of business. Our first step starts with an understanding of those market conditions in which organizations operate. Absent this focus, HR is left blindingly hoping that its work will be of sustainable value. Second, we agree totally that talent or "human capital" is one of the outcomes of good HR. But, we don't think it is the only one. When we define (in step 2) organizations as bundles of capabilities, talent is one of many capabilities. Limiting HR to only building talent is like telling IT people they can only work with desk top computers. HR outcomes, which we call organization capabilities, include speed to market, innovation, service, efficiency, accountability, leadership etc.

By keeping HR focused inside the company only on talent leaves the field where it has been for 40 years. Time to push forward.

26 JULY 2009 00:52
Jon Ingham said...

Thanks for the comment, and the detail of your response. I'm not surprised you disagree with my review - yes, debates are fun and support learning, but by the time you've finished a book, you're bound to have pretty much solidified your own views around something. However, it's my other readers that I'm more concerned about, and I hope that at least some of them will be convinced, as I am myself, that it's my approach that pushes things forward. I'll come back again shortly to explain why...

27 JULY 2009 00:12


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  • 1 comment:

    1. I am persuaded by two views, both from north America.

      Clay Shirky - we need new organizational forms to represent the new organizations. These forms need to take into account internet realities, capital as = to contributions of time, effort & know how, and a legal persona. Where oh where are the HR associations in this discussion?
      The corollary here is the invention of the limited liability company to promote capital formation after the South Sea Bubble. We need organizational forms set up quite deliberately to promote the pooling of talent and thus they must reward talent equitably and PROTECT talent from loss.

      Jon Husband - We need soft skills to understand the unique value of particular combinations of talent. This combination still must have value to outsiders and they must still have monetary value (at some stage). What we need in the HR world are the soft skills for facilitating the discussion to replace the notion that someone at the top "makes a decision" as I heard someone say just yesterday. For the life of me,I couldn't see how that would be legal in a public organization.
      HR have always found the role of Chair of Board easier than Exec Director. Now line management might mean people with exceptional facilitation skills who bring together talented people who benefit from each other's company.

      Let me ask you this question -what will the world look like in 5 years time? Who seriously believes that it will be anything like what it looks like now? I asked an London businessman how he thought the changes would evolve. He was puzzled. He didn't care. He assumed that many of the large organizations will be rubble and he neither cares how they fall down or who cleans up the mess. If this scenario holds out, there is an opportunity in debris removal, at least.

      My preference is to get moving on the new vibrant world that is emerging. The role of leadership there is up for the taking - the question is which profession will step up and fill the void.


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