“The ability to make good decisions regarding people
represents one of the last reliable sources of competitive advantage
since very few organizations are very good at it.”-
Dr. Peter Drucker

Making good decisions about people means elevating “people” to a strategic conversation. It means inviting HR into the inner sanctum. REALLY. That is not an easy transformation because although results are produced by people, predicting people performance is complicated. I’m not going to bore you in this blog with the current employee engagement statistics because you know they’re dismal and improving marginally.

Who are the Fat Cats?

Fat cats are successful senior executives for whom the status quo is just fine, thank you. Keep those HR people reporting to operations and keeping our assets safe, keeping us out of court. Your job, Mr./Ms. HR executive, is to keep those people issues out of the board room.

Not an indictment of all executives, just the comfortable ones who aren’t asking good questions about the human aspects of producing results.

Who are the Smart Rats?

Successful managers who have their own agenda and aren’t interested in sharing information, sharing power or glory. These people are boulders in the path of progress toward a higher value being placed on the human element of producing results.

Not an indictment of all managers. Same resistance as Fat Cats, though.

I am reminded of a joke I heard that goes something like this.

A senior executive and his mentee are standing on a hill. The 50-something executive has his arm around his mentee Millennial. He says wistfully, “Do you see all that beautiful pasture land spread out before us? Can’t you just see the home that would tuck nicely into that corner protected from the wind, and over there a horse barn and maybe a little garden?”

“Yes, I see that potential,” says the mentee.

The senior executive smiles widely and says, “Good! If you work really, really hard, all of this will be mine one day soon.”

Needless to say it’s a new day and the Millennial isn’t buying this one bit. Millennials are seeking a clear career path — fast — and most organizations aren’t assessing — much less offering — a career path for Millennials — who are demonstrating in droves they aren’t waiting.

Why not? I can show you how inexpensively and easily you can assess Millennials’ future potential.

But no. HR is charged with assessing High Potentials. If the company funds any succession planning at all (Fat Cats and Smart Rats, notwithstanding) HR analysis is limited to senior career paths.

That isn’t transformed HR — a short-sightedness that is expensive on many fronts and is the subject of a future blog post.

Pamela Stambaugh is a seasoned advisor to HR professionals, business executives and their teams. She provides HR technology solutions (Harrison Assessments), coaching, and team facilitation addressing 3 P’s:  Performance, Productivity and People.

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