Strategic Thinking & Financial Acumen for HR
The most concise definition of “strategy” is also the most elegant: a strategy is an integrated set of choices. Creating an integrated set of choices and then implementing them can be a powerful prescription for change, but doing so is also fraught with challenge. Among other things, the capable strategist must:
See past the presenting problem(s).
Unearth the underlying problem(s).
Employ systems thinking, which includes understanding that in organizations, nothing operates in a vacuum. Rather, any one element affects every other element. “If you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other.”
Complete a comprehensive analysis—often quantitative and qualitative—of factors contributing to the underlying problem(s).
Draw thoughtful conclusions from the analysis, and use those conclusions to create a strategic solution to the underlying problem(s), often one that considers the impact of the solution now and over the long-term.
Articulate specific and detailed tactics and action steps that directly support the strategic framework.
Communicate, socialize, and sell the strategic solution to key stakeholders, establishing commitment over compliance.
Implement each tactic of the strategic solution with focus and discipline, often over a long time horizon.
Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the strategic solution, course-correcting when necessary.
This approach is essential to the modern, 21st century HR practitioner, who is increasingly central to most organizations’ effectiveness. Today, organizations compete on three criteria: (1) ideas, (2) speed, and (3) talent, with talent being the lynchpin of the three. Talent gives rise to innovative ideas, and talent executes those ideas rapidly, enabling an organization to reach the market faster than its competitors. The principles also hold in the public and non-profit sectors. Hence, a strategic approach to Human Resources can enable a business and its employees to thrive and grow.