Unlock the best in yourself and your CEO!

July 15, 2023

Why isn't more time and attention devoted to the relationship between the CEO and CHRO, with management books written about it and training programs developed for it?

May I ask you, as an HR executive, a simple but very important question? What do you think is the number one reason why one organization is known as a fantastic employer and another as not very attractive?

In my opinion, the answer is surprisingly simple... It lies in the mindset, vision, and drive of the respective CEO and CHRO, and their chemistry together. If the chemistry is good, magical things can be achieved. If not, keeping the daily HR operations running without much hassle often becomes the main focus on their agenda. The same applies, of course, to the chemistry with the rest of the C-suite.

Does your HR vision still hold true? What does the organisation look like when that vision is realized? So, you wonder why more time and attention is not devoted to the relationship between the CEO and CHRO, why management books are not written about it, why training programs are not developed for it, and why special coaching programs are not set up for it. In any case, I have three simple practical tips to give a new boost to your relationship with your CEO, so that you can truly work together to become that fantastic employer.

1. Create quality time!

Investing time in each other is the most important investment for the CEO and CHRO to become or remain a fantastic employer. Plan at least two strategic off-site meetings per year, each lasting at least one day, to work together on a shared vision and visualise it together!

Determine a two-year plan with milestones and priorities to take the organisation to the next level. Also, discuss how the collaboration between you can be improved.

2. Ask the right open questions

How strong is your CEO's vision on people and culture? What mindset and intrinsic motivation does he/she have to give the necessary boost to transformation and innovation to become and remain that fantastic employer?

Does he/she believe that happy and highly engaged employees are the key to success, leading to better results? Prepare a list of the 10 most important (open) questions you want to ask but have never been able to or dared to ask. Find out why he/she does or does not do certain things, where the desires and fears lie. Don't jump straight into action, first ask the right questions.

3. Press the pause button occasionally

I would give every CHRO a wonderful retreat every year, a few days of "me time" to reflect, measure how you are doing physically and mentally. How much energy do you still have to have a good discussion with your CEO, to challenge him/her to do better, to provide ideas? Do you still have the right mindset and drive, or have you perhaps lost sight of your purpose? Spend time reinventing yourself and setting new personal and professional goals. Does your HR vision still hold true? What does the organization look like when that vision is realised? What is your concrete plan, and how does the company become a better employer? How well is your HR team really doing? What does the team need from you?

I encourage you to take a new first step in unlocking the best in yourself and your CEO. Let the chemistry between you become magic, resulting in a fantastic employer. You determine the HR legacy you want to leave behind!

Anne Jaakke
HR ChangeMaker
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