Get the best out of yourself and your CEO!

CHRO Magazine - Blog

May 5, 2021

Anne Jaakke

HR Innovator | Sr. Leadership | International HR consultant | CHRO Coach | Founder #Fantistics |  CHRO of the year 2016
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As an HR executive, you should regularly press pause. Step out of the frame to see the whole picture, take stock, gain new insights and inspiration to take yourself and your company to the next level. As an HR ChangeMaker you have an extra responsibility; doing your part to innovate, modernize and transform HR and thereby make a substantial contribution to a better commercial result. But where to start and how?

In this blog series, Anne Jaakke, ex CHRO of the year and passionate HR ChangeMaker inspires us with her insights and encourages fellow HR professionals to start an HR innovation revolution in their organization, starting with themselves.

Get the best out of yourself and your CEO!

As an HR Executive, may I ask you a simple but very important question? What do you think is the number 1 reason why one organization is known as a great employer and another as a not very attractive one?

As far as I am concerned, this simple question has a surprisingly simple answer… It depends on the mindset, vision, and drive of its CEO and HR Director and their chemistry together. If the chemistry is good, magical things can happen. If that chemistry isn't there, then keeping the daily HR operations going without too much hassle is the only topic on their agenda. Of course, the same also applies to the chemistry with the rest of the C-suite.

Thousands of books have been written about leadership and as many training courses have been developed, but I really wonder the following; If becoming and staying an employer of choice mainly depends on the CEO & HR Director of that particular company and their chemistry together, why is not much more time and attention devoted to this topic? Why aren't more management books written about it, training courses developed, special coaching programs set up?

I have 3 simple practical tips that will give a new boost to your relationship with your CEO so that you can really work together to become that great employer everyone wants to work for.

1. Provide “Quality Time”!

Why is it that the CEO & HR Director don't realize that the time they invest in each other is the most important investment to become/remain a great employer and if they do why do they not take the actual action to do exactly that?

My advice would be to plan a strategic “offsite” twice a year. This day lends itself to working together on a shared vision and to visualize it together! A day to determine a 2-year plan with milestones and priorities. What it takes to grow to the next level as an organization. But also a day to discuss how mutual cooperation can be improved.

It's a very simple action to take … just instruct the PAs to schedule it twice this year and put this initiative on your agenda with your CEO. 5 minutes of work 🙂

2. Ask the correct open-ended questions

How good is your CEO when it comes to having a vision of “people & culture”? Does he/she have the right mindset? The intrinsic motivation to give the necessary boost to transformation and innovation to become and remain that fantastic employer? Does he/she really believe that happy and highly committed employees are the key to success, which leads to better results? Make a list at home with the 10 most important open questions you want to ask him/her but have never been able or never dared to ask and just ask them! Find out why he/she does/doesn't do things, what they long for to happen and what they fear. Please don't jump straight into action, just ask the right questions first.

3. Occasionally press pause yourself

I would love to give every HR Director a super nice retreat every year. A few days of “me time” to come to your senses, to reflect, to measure your physical and mental status. How much energy do you have left to have a good discussion with your CEO, to challenge him/her, to challenge him/her to do better, to come up with ideas? Do you still have the right mindset and drive or have you lost your “purpose”? Spend time reinventing yourself and setting new personal & business goals. Really hit the pause button to reflect on how well you are doing. Do you have an HR vision that is still correct? What does the organization look like when your HR vision has manifested itself? What is your plan in concrete terms? Does your plan ensure a better operating result and does it make the company a better employer? How well is your HR team really doing? And what does the team need from you?

So step into the “driver seat” I encourage you to take a new first step to get the best out of yourself and your CEO. Let chemistry together become magic and a great place to work the result. You decide what kind of HR Legacy you want to leave behind!

Be a ChangeMaker! Join the HR (r) evolution 🙂 #HRChangeMaker