Innovative HR – managing the opposites
‘Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.’ – William Pollard
Without innovation, the future will be hard. And without change, innovation is impossible. Our ability to face ambiguity and uncertainty head on will mark us out as leaders of the future. This is not an intellectual intelligence issue, but an emotional intelligence one. And guess who plays a key part in getting it right? Yes, the HR Function plays a key role. So says Pam Moore in her article “Innovation and Good HR”.
HR plays a role ‘in the future’ through influencing a number of areas. Take for example the teams in your organisation. Putting the right teams in place helps to secure novel ideas and outcomes for the business. These must be diverse teams who bring many different contributions and ways of thinking to the table. To maximise outputs, team members must be able to appreciate the talents and ideas of people who are different to them. They need to become skilled at engaging meaningfully and at constructively resolving conflict. This requires emotional intelligence.
The question is, are you prioritising emotional intelligence in your organisation? Do you put emphasis on emotional intelligence capabilities, and the ability to build and value relationships, in your organisation recruitment and promotion? Do your reward and performance strategies align to collaborative efforts, or it there still a strong emphasis only on individual performance and competition? What are you encouraging and discouraging? What tone is set?
Take company culture, not something to be tampered with lightly, and critical for any future. Think about the popular Peter Drucker saying ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’. A company culture can be defined as: an outcome of interrelated practices, processes, routines and habits that enable and reinforce it. Another way to find out about company culture is to ask the question: How do things get done around here? This gives you a good sense of what is valued and reinforced in the organisation.
Do you support a safe-to-fail culture, badged as essential for innovation? Popularised by the Eric Reis work “The Lean Start-Up”, safe-to-fail means you test ideas to try out if they really work, and, you appreciate there is real value in understanding what happened (especially if you fail). How are you, as HR, influencing that? What tone do you personally set? You might have a company value that says “Innovation”, but are you really innovative in what you do in small everyday actions and responses? Are your leaders?
We need to balance competition with collaboration in the organisation, because we need both.
‘The trick is to marry competition and collaboration. Changing practices has to be done in a conscious manner with the full implications of the changes laid out. This is the strategic role of the HR department. It must be able to articulate the assumptions that underpin, the implications that are likely to follow and the potential unintended consequences of changes. Research shows this is how companies get to the top and stay on top.’ Pam Moore
You have to get good at managing the opposites. And to assist your organisation to do the same.
‘Our future growth relies on competitiveness and innovation, skills and productivity… and these in turn rely on the education of our people.’ – Julia Gillard