Walk through how to set priorities based not on what is "important," but rather on what is "pivotal" to strategic success. Many things are important, but only a few are pivotal, where the difference between good and great performance makes a large impact on strategic success. Here, look at examples from finance and operations.
- Leaders often say, "All of our people are important, "so let's improve the performance "of everyone in our organization." That's like saying, "Let's improve the performance "of every machine in our manufacturing line," or "Let's strengthen every link in a chain." The problem is that the decision to improve everyone's performance leads to HR strategies that simply invest equally in all workers.
Even more important, your managers and workers are confused about their priorities. This problem is nicely illustrated by the links in a chain. What if we asked the question which links in a chain are important? The answer is that all the links in a chain are important. The chain cannot function without any one of its links. But not all links equally affect the overall strength of the chain.
A better question is where would strengthening a chain link make the biggest impact on the chain's overall strength? Now the answer is not improving the strength of all the links. You would repair or strengthen the weakest link first. That's because increasing the strength of the weakest link has much greater effect on the total strength of the chain. The weakest link in a chain is more pivotal. Think of a fulcrum, where pushing down on one end raises the other end.
This pivot point creates leverage. Something is more pivotal the greater its leverage on success. Increasing the strength of the weakest link in a chain is more pivotal than increasing the strength of any other link. Now you can see that pivotal is different from important. All of the links in a chain are important, but the weakest link is pivotal. How can this help you improve your strategies? Strategy requires making choices to optimize resources.
Improving pivot points makes the largest impact on strategic success. So a good strategy invests more at the pivot points. Pivot points apply to your people and your organization just like they apply to manufacturing, supply chains, or product features. A strong human resource strategy requires investing more where the performance of your people and organization makes the biggest pivotal difference.
Where is the pivotal link in your organization? You might want to avoid this question because you think it means labeling a role as a weak link, but that's not true. Everyone is vital to your organization. Finding the pivotal link lets you help your people make their biggest contribution.
- Asking the right questions
- Focusing on what is pivotal
- Defining sustainable strategic success
- Finding bottlenecks
- Pivotal talent attributes and HR deliverables
- Strategic HR investments
- HR measurements and analytics