The Impact of HR

by Michael Haberman on October 17, 2012 · 5 comments

I have mentioned a number of times that it is important for HR to reach outside of its own area in order to get ideas and inspiration. I have suggested reading science fiction, and/or novels and/or biographies and/or business outside of HR. Thus I read Seth Godin on a regular basis and find much inspiration in what he writes. A recent read, The Acute Heptagram of Impact, got me thinking about the impact of HR.


In his blog post Seth said to “feel free to share the AHI” so I have recreated it below.

Seth says that for a project to succeed, or in our case a department, all seven of these points must be in place and function well. As he says you can have a strategy, but if you fail to execute the tactics you will not succeed. Your department will depend on the reputation of the people in the department but if one of more of them falters then the department may have difficulty.

Similar to the competencies developed by Ulrich et al. and SHRM you must be an operational executor. If you are not doing the blocking and tackling correctly then nothing will work. You have to have the desire and persistence to stay the course, but naturally that faces the fear we have of not succeeding.

Biggest stumbling blocks

In my experience the biggest stumbling blocks for many HR departments on three of the seven points. They are not tied to or don’t understand the proper strategy. They often fall down on execution, because they are not doing the things that are perceived by management as being the important things. Lastly they suffer in reputation. We still hear countless stories of HR departments being skirted because they keep managers from doing things, despite the fact that they may actually be safeguarding the company.

Godin concludes “If your project isn’t working, it’s almost certainly because one or more of these elements aren’t right. And in my experience, it’s all of them. We generally pick the easiest and safest one to work on (probably tactics) without taking a deep breath and understanding where the real problem is.” Substitute the word department in this sentence for project and you may see yourself in this picture.

Now all you have to do is decide what  you are going to do about it.

Diagram produced by Seth Godin and reproduced with permission.

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