As noted in last month’s newsletter, among our clients, the “better question folks” enjoy disproportionate success. A key to career success often involves taking a step back and assessing things from a different perspective than many of your colleagues.
The first of the eight questions we proposed last month was the following: “If I were offered the opportunity, would I invest any of my personal assets in my organization?” If your answer to this question ranged somewhere between “Not so sure” and “You’ve got to be kidding me,” here’s a set of questions for your consideration:
1. What is it about your organization that makes it a poor choice for investors?
2. What would it take to turn this situation around?
3. What role can your department (or function, location, etc.) play in improving the attractiveness of your company to investors?
4. What does this suggest about the measures and analysis you should be providing to your CEO, Board of Directors, and investors, that would help move your organization in the right direction?
And consider this bonus question: Given your answers to all 12 proposed questions, what role can you play in improving the attractiveness of your company to investors? Consider possible options for how you might take that path in the days and weeks ahead. (And if your answer is “none” then you are either working in a hopeless situation, or you have become complacent. In either case, a change of scenery may be in order.)
In our work with clients, we’re always struck by the power of asking the right questions – and the benefits that accrue to those who ask them. These “better question folks” tend to be up-and-comers who are well-positioned (regardless of job title) to garner important influence in their organizations.
If you’d like to be one of these people – able to guide organizational conversations with better questions – here are three initial questions for you to consider:
1. If I were offered the opportunity, would I invest any of my available personal assets in my organization? (If yes, then continue to the following questions. If no, then you’ll definitely want to read Part 2, which will appear in our October newsletter.)
2. What are the primary strengths of my organization that would lead me to invest?
3. What are the risks I would be most concerned about as an investor?
Then, what do your specific answers to questions 2 and 3 suggest to you about the following:
4. The key strategic directions your organization should be pursuing?
5. How you should be spending your time as an employee?
6. Your career trajectory?
7. What your department should be doing differently?
8. The measures and analysis you should be providing to your CEO, Board of Directors and investors?
Why think along these lines? Truth be told, whether or not you actually invest personal financial assets, you’re already making a huge investment: the scarce resource of your time. Thinking like the investor that you are can lead to asking more powerful questions. The answers to those questions will help guide your organization – and enhance your career.
As we’ve mentioned before in this space, people are one of the few remaining sources of long-run competitive advantage; in the short run, however, they are a cost.
To grow and profit, companies must manage this unavoidable tension with awareness and insight. Increasingly it is the ability to do so (superior “human capital management”) that is sorting out the economic winners from the losers.
This reality is, in turn, elevating the role of the HR function. Those HR professionals who can provide the intelligent analysis on which superior human capital management depends will be the winners within their field.
We’ve spoken to lots of HR professionals who want to get there but aren’t sure where to begin. With that in mind, we’ve added a new section to our website, containing quick (and free!) interactive self assessments you or your colleagues can use to get a snapshot of the state of your company’s current employee survey, its current analytics capacity, and more. We’ll be continuing to expand the number of assessments in this section in the months ahead.
Deploying HR Analytics with actionable employee surveys greatly increases the possibility of achieving what we at McBassi refer to as “all-win” solutions. Analytics helps companies operate in the “sweet spot” – the intersection of sustainably profitable and enlightened management of people. We work to help HR professionals build exceptionally successful organizations worthy of the best efforts of their people.
That is why we are so passionate about this field.
(This post was sent this month via email to our monthly newsletter subscribers. Click here if you’d like to subscribe.)