Monday, March 30, 2009

Getting to CEO via HR

There was an interesting article in the New York Times, on March 21st, 2009, titled, "The Keeper of that Tapping Pen."  I found it interesting as Anne Mulcahy, the Chairwoman and CEO of Xerox, spent time in Human Resources prior to becoming CEO.  By the way, she has done very well in turning Xerox around during her time as CEO.  She had also spent time in sales as well. 

I thought she had some interesting thoughts on what she had learned from HR:

1) That everyone needs honest feedback but that it rarely gets done
2) Importance of Talent Management

I think that spending time in different areas of the business is a great idea for leadership.  By understanding how HR, sales, finance, accounting, operations, etc, works, the individual can better understand challenges and learn something like Anne Mulcahy. 

I also thought her answer to "her most important leadership lesson" was great:
We talk a lot about execution and the importance of it. But I actually think it’s a lot more about followership — that your employees are volunteers and they can choose to wait things out if they don’t believe. And that can be very damaging in a big company. So it is absolutely this essence of creating followership that becomes the most important thing that you can do as a leader.
I really believe she gets it..followership.  "Employees are volunteers," that is definitely a different point of view.  I would like to think that was also learned in HR!

So may times we hear, "Why we hate HR" and "Why not to Trust HR", I like hearing some good news about HR!  Thank goodness Xerox doesn't hate or distrust HR.

Do you know anyone that has gone to CEO via HR?
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