“We shouldn’t allow the Country Head to operate out of his home town” said the CHRO in a definitive voice. “It doesn’t matter as long as she delivers the goods” responded the CEO. That was the first time I saw a CHRO standing up to a CEO and I said “wow!” It turned out that the country head operated from her home town and travelled to Hq every Monday.
3 months from then that CHRO resigned and the new HR head mostly gave policy/legal inputs to the CEO. At least in public there were no disagreements. He had a longer tenure and the CEO ensured CHRO got great visibility, freedom and promotions. We heard the CEO frequently saying that the new CHRO was a great business partner.
The 3 most important factors CEOs look for while hiring CHROs are
1. Qualification (Premier Institutes)
2. Marquee Brands they have worked for
3. Positive reference (from their network)
I am excluding the other factors like cultural fit, affordability & key achievements to state a few.
What makes the CHRO successful? Many of us say you need to be business oriented for you to get a seat in the table, you need to partner with Business and many obvious factors like that. But, the most commonly accepted factor is “Can you manage the egos of the CEO and his/her reportees”. If you are in a MNC can you manage the Geo-political battles of APAC vs EMEA vs Europe and also manage your CEO.
If you are in a large India enterprise can you manage the promoter personality and still do what HR is supposed to do?
Needless to say, CHROs who have strong personalities and opinions also need to be politically savvy to be successful ?
Mark Twain said “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”