Grow Where You’re Planted

By Clyde C. Lowstuter

I often find myself caught in the paradox of patience versus action. On one hand, patience is often the key to breakthrough insights and aids coaching clients in their life/career transformations. When working with others it is easy to see how slowing down helps them to explore the nuances of their interpersonal relationships and life aspirations. Change takes time. On the other hand, I can be really impatient with myself. When I set a goal, I am itching to act. I want to do more in less time.

My recent book, 35 Truths, took much longer than I thought. 35 perspectives – what’s the big deal? I live and breathe this stuff; I can whip the book out over a long weekend! 18 months later, it was done and I couldn’t be more proud.

Recently, I was juggling several demanding projects and I found myself growing frustrated with the time/action paradox of my own making. During a trip to visit our West Coast family, I walked along a path in the bamboo forest in Huntington Botanical Gardens. The bamboo grove towers 70 feet into the sky, blocking out the afternoon sun.

Bamboo

While I was there, I learned that some bamboo varietals often take 5 years or more after planting before above-ground growth appears. Before the plant can shoot skyward it must develop a significant root structure to support its pending massive growth spurt of more than 7 feet per year. That day I slowed down – and in the quiet, still space of the bamboo forest, I remembered that many things in life take time to develop and we can’t always rush that growth.

This type of slow but steady growth may resonate with you; nurturing and achieving mastery is more than merely putting in the time. Rather, you get to create your own significant root structure – by exploring, experimenting, examining, and evaluating.

How to start? Take a deep breath and lighten up. Learn to acknowledge and appreciate the patience of waiting for growth over time. When it does come, you’ll appreciate it much more. Indeed, your performance or career breakthroughs may not occur in years one, two, or three. Your massive epiphanies and peak performance may be in your fifth year. Slow down to soak up profound learnings, whenever they may be, so you may grow ever stronger and contribute more significantly to those around you. Best wishes for your root structure!

Master Leadership

By Clyde C. Lowstuter

Leadership is a role and a function, and an art and a science.

Team LeaderIf you believe that leadership is a single dimension, your overall performance will be a shadow of what’s possible.  Mastering leadership requires you to both perform, as well as unlock the potential of your staff.

Leadership success is found in balancing multiple responsibilities: the need to produce something tangible and create a synergistic team.

When form and function work in tandem the workplace can become a positive, results-driven, innovative environment.  Leaders who understand and embrace this simple fact invariably create empowering environments where people find significant meaning in their work and are compelled to produce extraordinary results.  Organizations with these attributes are more apt to generate enviable growth and profits.

Take a few minutes to envision your ideal team in terms of your role and function, and how you might master the art and science of leadership.

Look at your current team; evaluate the gaps between how it is performing now and what can be improved.

What adaptive shifts can you make in your own behaviors and beliefs that would positively impact performance?

What would team members recommend be done to enhance performance?

What else can you do to create a high performance team?

Mastering Leadership – it’s your right and duty.

Achieving ‘High Performance’ in Human Resources

By: Bob Garcia, HR Consultant
and Chris Foley, HR Consultant

Companies need to create a ‘high performing’ Human Resources function in order to win the “war for talent”, drive efficiencies and manage cost across all functions. ‘High Performance’ Human Resources: 

  • Is aligned with and understands the depth, breadth and dynamic nature of the core business.blog-2
  • Uses an operating model that delivers efficient HR services as well as differentiated and tailored solutions for effective talent management.
  • Operates like a business where service costs and benefits are quantified and reported in a relevant and timely manner.
  • Offers business leaders deeper insights on ways in which business results can improve and broader corporate strategies can be executed. 

Human Resources must serve the business and it must report financial results so that business leaders can forecast and manage cost, organize priorities and assess and execute opportunities for improvement. 

HR Strategy 

Human Resources, like many other corporate functions, is traditionally targeted as an area to decrease costs.  While some executives believe that some HR functions provide value, others strategically use Human Resources to acquire, develop and retain talent as a top corporate priority.  Historically, Human Resources has been challenged to become a business partner that the CEO, CFO or Leadership Team can rely upon to drive business value.  We believe that the gap between becoming or not becoming a business partner  may be attributed to the following: 

  • HR executives tend to focus on HR operational tasks and/or gatekeeper activities.
  • HR executives tend to discuss programs and organizational features rather than financial concepts, which are topics that are more familiar to the CFO and CEO.
  • HR costs have been traditionally viewed as relatively fixed cost and hence, have not been reviewed as regularly as other costs. 

blog-1Human Resources is used to dealing with programs and polices rather than finance and operations.  However, leaders such as Jack Welch have raised the awareness on the “people” element driving corporate strategy and growth.  In his book Winning, Jack states that the head of Human Resources is the second most important officer in the company, after the CEO. 

If you agree that great companies are composed of great teams of high performers, then the person acquiring and developing people or “talent” is a key player in the organization. 

Today, executives better understand the relationship between their “people” strategy and their corporate growth strategy.  While “trendy” HR offerings proliferate, our consulting experience suggests that executives are challenged with assessing their current operational capabilities and evaluating future options. 

We continue to see a two-pronged agenda directing a company Human Resources strategy: 

  1. Executive leadership will demand Human Resources to plan, execute, and sustain a cogent and effective strategy around talent management.  This encompasses the entire “employee life-cycle” to acquire, develop, promote and retain the competent, key top performers.
  2. Non-core processes will be outsourced.  And, outsource providers will work hard to “up-sell” value-added services on top of the basic payroll and benefits administration services, which continue to experience significant pricing pressures.