I’m a huge baseball fan – specifically a Detroit Tiger fan – and I was reminded last week by the Tigers how important talent is to your organization and how HR could be at the center of it all. In professional sports, like Major League Baseball, they call the main person in charge a General Manager (GM). He’s the person behind the scenes (kind of like HR) making deals to keep their club competitive during the season or looking into the future. It’s a very strategic role. While they are not managing or coaching players on a daily basis, or playing the game – ultimately they are making decisions that have huge impact to the team you watch play the game. Doesn’t that sound like a role you would love to have in HR?
The Tigers made some major moves last week to a team that is already one of the best in the majors. Why would a GM do such a thing? It would be like you going into your sales department, who is having record breaking sales, and moving on of your top sales people out and bring in someone new. Doesn’t seem like it makes sense – if it’s not broke, why break it! The Tigers were facing a couple of things – 1. the pending suspension of their starting shortstop; 2. the need to bolster their pitching staff for a run at the world series. They also have some long term needs – an aging short stop, so they need someone for the future. I know, I know – boring sports stuff – but it shows how HR should be thinking in a similar matter. How do we keep our organization running smoothly, and how do we make it better in the future – those two things don’t necessarily go together.
It’s HR’s job to figure all of this out. It’s actually easier as an HR Pro to come into a broken company. At that point you know what has to be done, and you start doing it. If you come into a great company the question is how do you make it better, and potentially any change you make might make it worse. Harder yet, is how do you make that organization better, when it’s already doing great? Your the GM what do you do? Sit on your hands and ride out the run? Look to the future and start getting the next generation ready? It’s the heart of people strategy and the single coolest thing we get to do in HR!
The Tigers are one of the top teams in the MLB for a simple reason – they have one of the best GM’s, Dave Dombrowski. He constantly is looking for ways to make his team better, but also not mortgaging the future away be giving away their developing talent. It’s a difficult balance. It’s the same in your role in HR. Your organization needs you to find ways to make them better right now, and keep them great in the future – sometimes that means making unpopular changes. Sometimes that means you’ll be helping influence your leaders to make courageous decisions. Decisions you not only have to support, but champion. A good GM helps the fans of their organization see the bigger picture – half marketing person, half prophet. HR needs to do the same. Our employees look to leadership and HR during major decisions and changes to see the reactions. They analyze every word, every facial expression and read into everything. Great GM’s/HR Pros know how to paint a bright future and a realistic positive outlook presence. Are you ready to be the GM of your organization?