Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What’s Your Super Power?

Today, I am honored to have an awesome colleague and friend as a guest blogger.  Angela Alper not only understands HR but she understands how HR can contribute to organizations by using insight to solve problems and develop world class talent.  Angela and I have collaborated on a workshop, "Using Influence and Impact: Becoming an Effective HR Business Leader," which focuses on three very important areas for HR professionals; insight, influence and impact."

What’s Your Super Power?

There are lots of good quarterbacks.  What makes Tom Brady better than someone else?  There are lots of good CEO’s.  What made Steve Jobs different?  Thankfully, there are many fabulous cooks out there.  So what makes Chef Jamie Oliver worth over $100M?

These people see the world differently than their peers; and they’ve figured out how to translate that vision into exceptional results!  We call that Insight. 

When combined with Excellent Execution, Influence and Impact, you can render yourself a force to be reckoned with.  Many HR folks ask us if this kind of impact is realistic in our profession.  The answer is definitely YES!  But, if you’re one of the many leaders we hear lamenting “not having a seat at the table” or “not having your voice heard,” there’s a good chance you need to work on one of these areas.

Think about Insight.  When you look at some exceptional leaders, one of the powers that make them unique is their ability to SEE things differently.  They see the big picture…They see the little picture…They see things completely outside the lines of the picture…And they connect all of those dots to bring an understanding to their world that others just don’t have. 

Steve Jobs could see the demand for play, ease and personalization in technology before the user even knew enough to ask for it.  Brady can see the shift in the defense, process his options and settle on a course of action in the blink of an eye.  Jamie Oliver can intuitively imagine and design a world where a love for food and the call for more conscious consumption can start in school.  I call that INSIGHT.  The ability to see more than others and the knowledge to use that vision to make an impact.

In a recent Fast Company article, Robert Greene, author of Mastery, a study of history makers like Darwin, Ford and Mozart, was quoted to say, “The worst thing you can do to your career—and your life—is to allow your brain to get stale…”  He advises developing an interest in a study of science or literature.  "Spend some free time delving into this new field that interests you but is not directly related to what you do," he says. Your goal here is to broaden your perspective and ideas. 

Consider the findings of a Credit Suisse 2014 study.  Evaluating the results of 3,000 companies around the world, the conclusion was that businesses with at least one woman on the board outperformed those with no women by an average of 5%.  While the study did not attempt to address causality, it might not be a huge leap to assert that companies with more diverse perspectives might see more dots and, by connecting those dots differently, be able to arrive at more effective solutions.

If you’re not convinced, consider Booz and Company’s Global Innovation Study of why some companies outperform others.  Booz & Company’s annual study of the world’s biggest R&D spenders shows why highly innovative companies are able to consistently outperform. Their secret? They’re good at the right things, not at everything.  So how do they figure out what’s right?  These innovative companies rely on Need Seekers, Market Readers and knowing their Technology Drivers (the company’s internal capabilities.)  They are building the strategic and intentional formation of Insight into their model!

So ask yourself, HR Leader, can anyone do your job as well or better than you?  If the answer is yes, well, that’s another subject for another day.  If the answer is no, then why not?  What makes YOU younique?  Can you put your finger on it?  Can you articulate it?  Even better, can you leverage it to expand your impact? 

Do you have Insight?  Do you have a point of view?  Do you intentionally and continuously cultivate it?  Do you use it strategically to interpret the landscape in front of you and decide where and how to go?  If not, there’s no better time than now to become Insightful!  Until then, bon appétit!

(photo from canstockphoto.com)

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