Sum-Of 400x265Aren’t we doing ourselves out of job?!

It’s been a fascinating year for us so far, the greatest demand from our clients has been the desire to enable their own people to become more than the sum of their parts.  This has meant taking what we do and training HR teams to deliver the same skills and approach in-house.

This has grown so much this year it is now a core part of what we do, distilling consultancy, coaching, facilitation and behavioural change into skills development for our peers.

So what have we learned about what works?  And aren’t we doing our selves out of a job!

  • Ask more questions
  • Build a solution together
  • Ask even more questions

That might sound just too simple, but we’ve seen it work time and time again.

Here’s how…

Asking more questions is about building rapport with the business and demonstrating commercial understanding. Often we are not recognised as commercial for the answers we give but for the quality of questions that we ask.

If I tell a business manager how much I understand the importance of delivering sales but that it is also important that people go on training courses, I am not seen as really getting the business needs.  If I ask instead “what are your sales targets?  How are you doing against them?  What might help you get closer to / exceed that target?  How could this development we offer help you do that?”  I’m showing my interest in your business and then demonstrating how my offering helps you hit the targets you’re working to.

The building solutions together part is then about being adaptable and showing that we’ve listened to the business needs.  Following the example above, we might say “it sounds like you’re looking for X and the development programme we have delivers Y.  How could we adapt that to make it more relevant for what you need?”  Or it could be that we’re shaping something from scratch so the question could be, “what could we develop to help you meet those targets?”  Mixing questions here with the HR / Learning professional’s own expertise is how the solution is built together.

Aside from the learning-based examples above, this works equally well for a more traditional HR query. When a business manager wants to recruit someone or fire someone, asking questions to understand the real business issue then build a solution together means both parties end up with a better outcome.

And finally – ask even more questions.  What follow up has there been?  After we agreed that solution, what happened?  How have we measured the success of what we did?  What could we learn from that for next time?  What are the business problems now?  What do we need to do next?

This moves the HR team away from being purely reactive and introduces a more commercial edge to the service offered internally.

If you’re thinking about developing your HR and Learning team capability for in-house consulting and commercial business partnering, we’d love to chat with you.  Drop us a line and tell us about the business issues you’re facing – then we’ll see what we can do to help.