Human Capital Consulting Partners Newsletter January 2009
Leadership in Times of Crisis:
Myth or Reality?

How many times during our working career have we said to ourselves, "It can't get any worse?" How many times during our working career when it did get worse, we always found some sort of solution to turn it around?
Today it's different! Globally like never before businesses are closing, layoffs are occurring in record numbers, business and personal wealth has been cut in half, and everyone is waiting for " the next shoe to drop." Especially those who work for us.

Our employees, regardless of their salary or job title, are looking for that someone who will get them through a crisis. They are looking at you: their boss, supervisor, work leader, president, or CEO. Individuals want and need to have a leader with vision, drive, stamina, compassion, and thick skin who they know they can count on when things get tough.

Case in point.  In the December 2008 issue of Chief Executive Magazine, an article titled, "Two CEOs, One Strategy" discussed the turnaround that occurred over the last few years at both Schering Plough and Campbell Soup as a result of the leadership of Fred Hassan and Doug Conant, respectively. Before these executives assumed their roles as CEO, both companies were in a downward spiral. Their respective organizations had lost faith not only with the investor community but with their customers and employees.

Both of these executives determined that to transform their organization or "get out of their crisis," they would focus not only on their products but on their people -- especially their leaders. Both Hassan and Conant they got through their crises by reinventing both the business strategy and getting the right leaders on the bus. They worked diligently to ensure they attracted, hired, promoted, and developed people who could help them attain their vision. Without the right human capital, they knew their strategy would fail.

Unlike Schering Plough and Campbell Soup, most of us do not have the same financial resources to bring to bear on "our crisis." However, it is important that we have a plan/vision for the future. A plan that includes both how we will handle our business strategy and engage the right people for the future. 

As you begin to develop the people or human capital component of your plan, here are some areas that you need to focus on to help drive success:   
1.    Define your culture.
The single most important part of any company's foundation is determining its culture. Culture defines who you are as a business; it defines what you stand for; and it defines how you want to be known by your customers, shareholders, vendors, and employees.

2.    Identify the required people skills, competencies, and experiences.
Identify the people you need to achieve your business goals and who will best fit into the culture of your organization. Having the right "fit" is critical and in my view will determine a person's future success or failure. Role-Based Assessments are one way to ensure if people fit both their individual and team job role.

3.    Develop and train your people.
It is essential that you know who the good people are in your organization, especially in times of crisis. You can't afford to lose any of them. They help drive your business strategy, deal with customers, and drive your success. Do whatever you can to not lose the top performers.

4.    Communicate, communicate, and communicate.
You simply must communicate. Inform your organization about what is happening. Listen to what your employees are saying. You cannot go wrong if you over-communicate. Be as transparent as you can on the issues.

Regardless of our "crisis," we need to have a plan like Hassan at Schering Plough and Conant at Campbell Soup. Like both of these executives, we need to be sure we focus on the people. If you are faced with a crisis in your own business and you need help in developing your HR processes and programs, Human Capital Consulting Partners can help you by providing the appropriate processes that align with your short- and long-term business goals. 
My best wishes to you and your organization as you traverse the coming year.

Jim Geier
Human Capital Consulting Partners

email: jimgeier@hccpartners.com
phone: 215.244.8110
web: http://www.hccpartners.com
Human Capital Strategy is Vital

Most organizations realize they need a manufacturing, a sales and marketing, and a financial strategy. But it is also critical for every organization to have a human capital--or people--strategy that is aligned with the organization's specific business strategy.

Human Capital Consulting Partners works with firms to develop a people strategy that supports the achievement of both their short- and long-term business goals.  

The finished strategy document will include the firm's HR philosophy as well as its HR programs and processes in the following areas:

Culture Alignment
Defines the values and the cultural dynamics that will be the foundation of your firm

Attraction, Retention and Development of People
Defines the people who you want to attract, engage, and retain

Defines the pay and incentive systems that will motivate your employees

Defines the benefit programs that will provide the appropriate level of protections for people and their families

Human Resources Operations
Defines the human resources function that will drive your human capital and business strategies
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