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How to Build Push

Pace and resilience, and courage to stand up and speak out

To build Push, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What can I realistically push for, and how could I stretch my goals?
  2. What boundaries do I need to establish and where do I want to resist or say no?
  3. How can I build the resilience of myself and my team to sustain my energy and to challenge?

Building Push strategically

This involves taking a real step back so that you can get the full picture.  Take a deep breath from daily pressures and book time in your diary to scope out three key areas:

  • Context – what are the priorities and issues that affect where and when to push forward or back?  What are the risks and rewards?
  • People – how would you evaluate the depth and resilience of the relationship/s involved and what would be a constructive approach in a particular situation?
  • Process – how can you clearly set out boundaries, like goals, measures and values, and also resource constraints, so that stakeholders know where they stand with you?

Building Push tactically

Often it takes many small steps to achieve our goals.  For example, helping senior leaders to understand engagement, and its links to productivity and profit, can take several conversations.  Sometimes they’re planned, and more often they’re opportunities we take in the moment to make our point in a way that relates to their agenda.  Only then can we move on to talk about how we can measure engagement or improve it.  Push is about persisting with our message, and judging how much energy and courage is appropriate.  It can take time, but we grow in stature as we make progress.  On other occasions, we need to make a judgement, stand tall, speak clearly and hold our nerve.  Sometimes we are in conflict about what we can and cannot deliver with our resources.  Managing and negotiating expectations fairly and clearly is part of Push.

Emotional intelligence and resilience in HR

Being continually proactive and challenging can be exhausting.  Conflict is inherent in many situations we face in HR, and it’s impossible to keep everyone happy.  We have to feel strong enough to stand up for ourselves, and feel able to bounce back.  EI and resilience are capabilities that we can develop with the support of our team, colleagues and coach.

From transactional to transformational HR

How do we decide when to invest this extra energy?  A classic example is HR policies, which have huge value in establishing standards and procedures.  However, upholding rules can be transactional, eg. solving a problem the way we always solve it so that nothing changes.  It’s efficient, but perhaps our action could be more effective in adding value, for example in creating an opportunity to coach a line manager or give them high quality feedback.

In Push we urge HR to be transformational, which means finding new ways to move forward and to develop.  Challenge and stretch yourself in conversations so that you open doors to collaborating and working out new ways to add extra value.  Here are some examples:

Transactional v transformational HR model
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