The Secret to Great HR

(I’m on vacation, that’s not a secret, but this post is because it ran in Jan. 2010 almost no one read it!)

I was given a gift this past holiday season – my brother bought me Bill Simmons’ latest book, The Book of Basketball– which is quite possibly the greatest book ever written, all 700 pages of it. It’s not just about the NBA (although it’s pretty damn comprehensive on that subject), it also has many leadership and life lessons as well.  One of my favorite parts has to do with Piston great and Hall of Fame guard, Isiah Thomas*, explaining to Bill the “Secret” of basketball – to the point of what it takes for a team to win a world championship in the NBA.  Boiled down into a sentence or two, the secret to winning, according to Isiah, has to do less with great individual players and more about a group of really good players, foregoing personal statistics, for the good of the whole.  Sounds simple enough – we all get that – but then why do so many great players miss this easily understood concept?**

Don’t worry about yourself (and your own success), worry about your team’s success, that is, if you truly want to be successful.

I started to think about this concept in all other areas of my life.***  HR isn’t difficult, usually, for the most part, it’s a fairly straight forward concept – get great people, keep great people happy, customers benefit, profits come, stakeholders happy, repeat.****  But, there has to be a secret, because probably 80% or so, of HR Pros out there, don’t get it and aren’t helping make their organizations better through great HR.

So, like Isiah, I’m going to share The Secret To Great HR.  I know what you’re thinking, why would I do this – I could easily go all Malcolm Gladwell on you and write a book, and be a thousandaire, or something. But I’m not, I’m giving it away free because I like karma better than money*****  and I see it as my gift back to all the HR Pros out there who could use the help right about now.

The Secret To Great HR –

The secret is extraordinarily simple, it’s all about a few close relationships.  Depending on what type of organization you come from, it has to do with the relationship you have with those who are running operations. First, every organization has some type of operation – meaning every organization produces something – product, service, etc. Even in church, the pastor runs operations – sharing the gospel with people, for example.

So, in your organization, to have great HR – the leadership in HR, must have a great relationship with the leadership in Operations.  I’m talking husband/wife great relationship******* your best friend in the world type relationship, someone you could go on vacation for a week, and share a hotel room type relationship. The blocking and tackling of HR isn’t difficult – but becomes incredibly difficult without support from your operation’s partner.  People miss this – and it’s very simple.  Instead, in HR, we work to make new processes, new programs, better orientation, more specific recruiting plans, user-friendly HRIS, etc.  Then, we get completely frustrated when we can’t get rank and file to follow some very simple steps to make it all run extremely smooth.

Why?  Because mostly we do this, without operations really buying into, or even wanting, our latest and greatest new thingy we just put together – For them, by the way!  If you have a strong relationship with Ops, they will tell you what they need, help you design it, roll it out for you, and make their own processes to ensure it’s followed.  Wow! Doesn’t that sound nice? All because of a relationship.*********

PS: *****If you don’t get the use of “*” references, read The Book of Basketball******

PPS: It’s my inner dialogue thoughts

*I liked Isiah, being the huge Piston fan that I am – but really more of a Joe Dumars fan – when I was 16 my Dad got tickets to see the Pistons vs. Lakers (my other favorite team – being that Magic is a Sparty) and after the game I got my picture taken with then rookie, Joe Dumars and 7′ 5″ Chuck Nevitt – I can still remember the conversation: Me “Joe great game”; Joe (looking completely exhausted and pissed he had to take pictures after a Sunday game on national TV with the Lakers, with some fans, who only got the chance because Tropicana or some other sponsor told him he had to do it) “Thanks” – Smile – click – interaction over.  I’ll be a fan of Joe the rest of my life!

**I say simple enough, but let’s face it most people are idiots and don’t get this, and really only worry about themselves.

***So, besides work, that means youth sports and how to keep my wife happy

****I always find it amazing how you can use a shampoo-rinse-repeat analogy in almost any conversation.

*****Not really, I like money a whole lot, but I’m really hoping this blog thing turns into a TV deal – so I got to give a little away for free – wet the appetite so to speak.

******I know some might be thinking husband/wife aren’t a great relationship analogy – but that’s because you didn’t find your soul mate – sucks to be you – sorry.

********It helps to go out drinking with them as well – after a couple of drinks, somehow what they really want from HR comes out!

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