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‘Will it make the boat go faster?’

It’s an obvious question when you’re in the business of boat racing. The answer is either yes or no – there’s nothing in-between. To determine the answer, though, you need to understand exactly how your particular boat works, as well as your crew.

The quote came from James Cracknell, multiple Olympic rowing gold medallist, at a client’s leadership programme. It landed well with the audience and generated a robust debate.

Yes, organisations are more complicated than boats. But doesn’t that mean we need to invest more in understanding exactly what drives performance?

For example, we now have proof that engagement drives productivity – powerful stuff to help HR make the case for engagement.

But the conversation can be rather vague and lack impact unless you can point to clear links between actions and results in YOUR OWN organisation – using the language of the CEO and CFO: % of revenue; KPIs; driving growth; mitigating risk.

First, you have to understand how your boat works, what drives its performance.

That’s the core of business acumen for HR people.

Do you have examples you can share of how you do this in your HR role?

I’m working with Kevyn Rustici on some tools to help HR people do more of this.

Upcoming workshops & webinars

HR business partnering for a new era

Date: 20th June 2023

Strategic influencing skills for HR leaders

Date: Wednesday 28th June 2023

How to build a business-led HR strategy

Date: 6th July 2023
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