Why Most HR Strategies Fail


We wear a thousand hats in HR.  Developing a good, solid HR strategy is one the hardest things you’ll ever have to do.  Most of the time, when I see an HR strategy fail it has to do with the leadership just not understanding what they should be focused on.  Then, once the focus is determined, not going deep enough to really understand it fully.

It reminds me of an old writing analogy I was told by one of my professors in college. Imagine yourself in a room that is completely black. You have a flashlight and you shine it on the wall. Within that circle of light, you shine on the wall, you can see some stuff.  It’s not clear, as you stand in the middle of the room, the light (your attention) is dispersed.

As you move closer to the wall, the beam of light becomes narrower. You begin to see more detail. Your focus became clear to what you are seeing.

The goal of writing is to make it clear to others what you are seeing.  Standing far away, you could give them some sense of what you’re seeing. As you stand closer, you can give them great detail and specifics to what you are seeing.

Great HR Strategy is similar.

You can make a strategy that is focused on everything, but rarely does that go anywhere. Most will fail. Or, you can get very specific with your strategy, ensure everyone sees what you see, and make it happen.

That is the challenge for HR leaders, moving closer to the wall, providing that clarity.


One thought on “Why Most HR Strategies Fail

  1. Very relevant to me today – we are on a fiscal year that starts in April, so in the midst of planning our initiatives. We were all over the map last year and didn’t accomplish all we wanted/needed to. This year, I’ve identified two key focus areas, tied to the business strategic priorities and told the team that is our laser focus. If people come with other “wants” we’ll be comparing them to our two focus areas/strategies – if they help us move that needle, great. If not, the answer will be “not now”. I’ve got the buy-in for that from our business leaders, as they were part of identifying the two key areas of focus for us to help drive their overall strategy.
    For someone whose tendency is more to say “yes” to everything, from customer service focus, that is going to take some discipline, but ultimately will be a better service to the organization if I hold firm.

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