small change: your HRD, or you

small change
Ciarán Fenton
How small changes in your behaviour have a big impact on how you work, lead or follow
That’s the working title of a book I’m writing, initially as a series of short blogs.

Blog 2 small change: your career is a unique business

Blog 3 small change: your soft balance sheet

Blog 4 small change: your D Liability

Blog 5 small change: your timeline

Blog 6 small change: your formative years

Blog 7 small change: your A asset

Blog 8 small change: your career equity

Blog 9 small change: your curriculum vitae

Blog 10 small change: your emotional intelligence

Blog 11 small change: your reputation

Blog 12 small change: you, three years from now

Blog 13 small change: your purpose, strategy & behaviour (PSB)

Blog 14 small change: your soft p&l

Blog 15 small change: your 7 career options

Blog 16 small change: your relationship grid

Blog 17 small change: you are not a human capital asset

Blog 18 small change: your 7-step job search plan

Blog 19 small change: your 3-step interview plan (1)

Blog 20 small change: your 3-step interview plan (2)

Blog 21 small change: your 3-step interview plan (3)

Blog 22 small change: your job search funnel

Blog 23 small change: your reactive job search

Blog 24 small change: your proactive job search

Blog 25 small change: your first 100 days

Blog 26 small change: your operating board

Blog 27 small change: your main board

Blog 28 small change: your CEO, or you

Blog 29 small change: your CFO, or you

Blog 30 small change: your non-executive chair, or you

Blog 31 small change: your NEDs, or you

Blog 32 small change: your GC or you

Blog 33 small change: your COO, or you

Blog 34 small change: your CMO, or you

Blog 35 small change: your CTO, or you

Blog 36 small change: your HRD, or you

small change

Seven principles

Principle 4

A shared Organisation PSB

  • shared purpose,
  • strategy
  • and behaviour in your organisation
  • is key to its success

Blog 36 small change: your HRD, or you

your HRD

Your HRD (or you) is your Human Resources Director, sometimes called Chief People Officer and sometimes a Chief of Staff performs the role.

Your HRD is often the Cinderella of your operating board because:

  • they are frequently forgotten (unless they have a CEO with high EQ)
  • ignored
  • given loads of dirty work to sort out
  • under-resourced
  • they are often the victim of the failure of your CEO to acknowledge that they, not you or your HRD, are responsible for  creating an environment in which the people in your organisation thrive
  • they are also the victim of the biggest and smelliest “elephant in the room” in business: human capital assets do not exist – if they did the accountants would have put them on their balance sheets; human resources do exist but only technically and no one, but no one, sees themselves as human resources – not even HRDs!. I know because I asked a group of them at a workshop to “up hands” if they loved being a human capital asset/ human resources. No hands went up. No surprise.
  • It’s all tosh. Proof if proof were needed is the number of HR conferences that still pose questions about and debate the role and purpose of HR. Only GCs and in-house counsel match HR in this annual futility. You will not see CFOs, CTOs, COOs, CMOs, CROs speak at conferences on the basis of their role and purpose because the basis of their role and purpose is clear.

So, in small change terms, your HRD should:

  • remind your CEO that he or she is responsible for creating an environment in which your people thrive. No one else. And definitely not you.
  • ask for your title to be changed to Chief of Staff
  • stop using the terms HR and Human Capital. Ban them.
  • ask Finance and Legal to take over all legal and accounting work in relation to people a.k.a. “transactional HR”
  • then spend your time helping your CEO and senior leaders be better leaders
  • ask for a room next to your CEO. Think: Leo McGarry in The West Wing
  • brief and debrief your CEO on every person they see
  • help them help people be what they can be
  • you will be happier
  • your CEO will earn their salary
  • your organisation will thrive


Do it today.


Ciarán Fenton

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