Many books have been written about negotiation strategy and the different approaches to negotiation, from interest-based to traditional bargaining to win-win to principled, and many more. Much less, however, has been written about the detailed mechanics of successful negotiation and problem solving, about the face-to-face tools and language skills we must master to be more effective negotiators. In particular, one of the most important skills is the “art of the question”.
Nothing frustrates me more than to see the expertise, experience and time of HR professionals wasted. And in today’s working environment, I see frustration and failure all too frequently in Analytics projects. We have pored through oceans of data and done hours of spread sheeting and analysis, and in the end the leaders we have presented our analysis to have put it to one side or seemed confused or unimpressed by our efforts. Somehow we have missed the mark.
We have created a checklist of 5 Questions that you need to answer as you work to be heard and have impact. They are essential questions to test yourself against at the start of every project. As you read through this for the first time, we suggest that you identify a critical HR initiative that you are responsible for getting your senior management team (or your boss) to support.
I’m always stunned when I hear a senior business leader say that their head of HR isn’t one of their key advisors; that the head of HR is often not at the senior executive table when major strategic or market initiatives are being discussed. And yet, in most organizations, human resources are both the largest expense line in the profit & loss statement and the most mission-critical resource: it is only with good people that ANYTHING of business value gets done. For this reason alone, there should be a senior HR professional at the table for every strategic discussion.
We have moved into an era where traditional support services – HR, Finance, IT, Administration, Legal etc. – are under increasing daily pressure to produce a more direct impact on business results. The business rationale for this pressure is easy to understand. Organizations – both public and private – are being pushed by customers, boards of directors, analysts, and investors to do more with the resources they have or – in many cases – do more with less.