Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Human Resources CEO

Marketing in 1970’s, finance in 1990’s, But HR in 2000’s? Today media is flux with management surveys saying that the new breed of CEO’s will necessarily come from the HR department. Although the trend is clearly visible, but are we ready for the change? What is it that makes an HR guy the man-Friday for the top job? Let us look at a few reasons why an HR guy will be the chosen one in future.
In today’s increasingly complex world, a person can’t be a genius in everything. Even superman can’t be expected to match such high expectations. Resting on this reality, the modern CEO has a team of specialists to help him with different aspects of the job i.e. we have CFO, COO, CTO, CIO, CMO….the list just keeps getting longer. So what does a modern CEO actually do? The main job of the modern CEO is to keep his army of executives motivated and extract maximum productivity out of them. It is his responsibility to get the job done from various specialists, put the efforts together and deliver the final product. When Henry ford was asked by the US supreme court to step down from the chairmanship of Ford motors due to his lack of engineering expertise, his reply was that although he knew minuscule regarding the technicalities of building a car, he knew the ones who were experts at that and he was effective enough to get the work done from these people. This was the mantra behind Henry Ford’s success. The mantra can’t be truer than in Today’ world.
In the modern corporate world, tales galore of how successful CEOs like Jack Welch, Neville Isdell etc were first employee’s manager over anything else. They devoted the majority of their time in finding and nurturing the best talent and getting work done from them. This accomplished, the corporate results took care of themselves. So where does the argument leave us now? Although the trend has gained momentum, it is still premature to predict where the tide will turn. HR CEO’s will have to perform in their new role to prove their worthiness. HR will continue to be looked upon as an organizational support function till the new HR chief executive proves his mettle.
HR managers to get into the driver’s seat of their organization have to first equip themselves with critical non-HR skills in Finance, marketing etc. Clearly the trend is not visible here. HR managers have to prepare themselves before they can occupy the front seat.

No comments:

Post a Comment