Leadership Development

What Are the Major Challenges You Are Facing as an Executive HR Leader

The workplace is changing, and HR executives are ready to tackle what’s to come head on. From February 26th – 28th, CHROs and VPs of HR gathered at the JW Marriott in Miami, Florida for the HR Management Institute, to collaborate on HR solutions that will improve their organizations. Before the conference began, we polled the attendees from organizations including Best Buy, BASF, Corus Entertainment, L Brands, NBC Universal, Northwell Health and Schneider Electric, asking them, “What are the major challenges and concerns you are facing as an Executive HR Leader in your organization today?” The top 3 responses we received were: ‘Leadership Development’, ‘Talent Development’ and ‘Employee Engagement.’ 

With these concerns top of mind, the 2 ½ days consisted of roundtable discussions, networking opportunities and speaking engagements designed for HR leaders to foster innovative dialogue and work together to improve the HR industry. The discussions dove into solutions for developing leaders, attracting & retaining top talent, recognition programs that drive culture & engagement and leveraging technology to enhance HR capabilities. Equipped with innovative tools and information, attendees headed back to their offices ready to implement new strategies and best practices.

Are you ready to share your voice? The HR Management Institute is taking place for a 2nd time this year from July 23rd – 25th, 2017 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, CA. Please email ahallman@ipmionline.com to request a copy of the agenda.

Why Transforming Managers into Leaders Shouldn't Be Left to Chance

Guest Post: Simon Rakosi, co-founder, Butterfly

A common convention of fairy tales is for ordinary characters to make extraordinary transformations, acquiring impressive powers and competencies—sometimes overnight. I know what you’re thinking: if only developing talent were so easy.

For HR teams, nurturing and developing leadership talent isn’t merely a competitive advantage: it’s life or death in hypercompetitive industries and markets. Yet too often we expect these types of soft skills will be obtained magically, through osmosis perhaps, similar to what takes place in our favorite fairy tales.

Much has been written about leadership training—why it’s important and why we too often wait far too long to train our managers—but what about the crucial metamorphosis that occurs when a manager becomes a leader?

It’s on HR teams to recognize the differences between a manager and a leader, and identify the transformations that are required in the development of an effective leader. Here are a few key distinctions:

Managers educate around skills and tasks; leaders inspire around a vision.

When an employee first becomes a manager, their role is frequently described as an opportunity to scale their skills or talents across multiple people. While a good manager will figure out how to achieve this, a true leader understands his or her role in communicating the broader team and company vision to each employee so that they understand their place in the bigger picture. This encourages individual contributors to be more proactive when it comes to ideas that will move the needle for the broader team and business.

At our startup, we bring this concept to life through regular town halls in which we transparently articulate our vision to all levels of the organization, from co-founders like myself to interns. We also encourage employees to spend up to 20 percent of their time collaborating on teams and projects outside of their “regular” jobs, so that they may gain important access into the broader blueprint of the company.

Managers view their employees in silos; leaders focus on team dynamics.

One of the early steps a new manager will take is to schedule and host one-on-one meetings with employees. Of course the goal of any effective manager is to monitor the productivity and growth of each of his or her team members—but when it comes to becoming a leader, managers should also be able to view their team’s progress and dynamics as a unit.

This is where soft skill development can really come into play. Studies have shown that EQ is a greater indicator of leadership success than IQ, yet few organizations invest in training around empathy. One reason could be that empathy is a difficult skill to grasp, and it’s not so easily “coached,” yet just because it is difficult doesn’t mean it should be neglected. Providing simple training exercises around active listening can go a long way, for example.

Managers delegate tasks; leaders develop people.

This is important. One mistake new managers can make is to view their increased responsibilities through the lens of a delegator instead of an educator. Delegation is critical to scaling talents, as we’ve gone over in the first point, but truly the most important capacity of a leader is people development.

Unfortunately, while managing projects and assigning tasks is quite intuitive, understanding how to read, educate and inspire employees to grow is a much more nuanced ask. Companies can help new managers on this journey by showing them how to collaborate with team members on their personal career plans and providing guidance when it comes to the cadence and format of their progress updates and goal-setting.

Managers listen; leaders listen and act.

Finally, a true leader will not only collect employee ideas and feedback on a regular basis, but he or she will also find ways to act on that data. It’s not enough to demonstrate to employees that you are listening. Making the move from manager to leader means identifying and escalating employee feedback quickly, and helping initiate real change based on those insights. In other words, showing your team you’re listening is much more powerful than telling them you are.

Here’s an example from one of our partners at Butterfly. Using our employee intelligence and management coaching software, a junior employee at a large ecommerce entertainment company proactively suggested a company-wide bus program to help employees get to work more efficiently. Recognizing this feedback as not only warranted, but also quite astute, the manager helped push the idea up the chain of command. Just weeks later, the office instituted a bus program for all of its employees.

During a time when job automation is not an “if,” but rather a widely accepted “when,” HR teams face an important challenge when it comes to helping managers grow into leaders.

The impact of a strong leader has the potential to scale tremendously–and this transformation can (and should) take place at all levels. As such, HR teams should invest more in leadership coaching to managers of all levels, not just executives.

Questions about Butterfly or management coaching in general? I would love to continue the conversation. Please reach out to simon@butterfly.ai.

IPMI Announces Major Speaking Partnerships for Upcoming HR Management Institute

 B2B conference company, International Performance Management Institute (IPMI), announced a number of valuable speaking partnerships today for the upcoming HR Management Institute. These partnerships include Paula Baker, CHRO at Best Buy Co.; Wendy Crudele, VP Global HR Operations at The Walt Disney Company; Michael Messier, CHRO at Excelitas Technologies Corp.; and Greg Hicks, SVP HR at Cigna Corporation.

All speakers contribute significant knowledge and experience in leadership development, talent development and leveraging human capital metrics to IPMI’s semi-annual HR Management Institute, taking place February 26th – 28th 2017 at the JW Marriott in Miami, FL.

The HR Management Institute is an invite-only conference catering to C-Suite HR executives of Fortune 500 and 1000 companies across the country. In addition to a robust agenda, IPMI also invites only the most cutting-edge solution providers to the Institute to deliver contemporary and relevant information exchange to attendees. What sets IPMI conferences apart from other conferences are the pre-scheduled, pre-selected one-on-one business meetings with relevant solution providers.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to join the esteemed group of CHROs ready to drive employee engagement, improve corporate culture, and inspire creativity. Please call the director of the program, Mark Arruda, at 416-628-4058 ext 101 or send him an email at marruda@ipmionline.com for more information and to secure your seat.

IPMI is one of the world’s fastest growing providers of B2B information. IPMI develops and disseminates critical and timely business events exclusively for senior corporate executives. Bringing product providers and purchaser business communities together in print, in person and online, we have a reputation for delivering high quality and relevant information to our clients, empowering them to make educated business decisions to drive corporate performance objectives.

Building Better Leaders: Q&A with Lizanne Gottung CHRO, Kimberly-Clark Corporation

Leadership is a key element of any successful HR strategy and yet, only 33% of HR executives believe they have strong leadership programs in place according to ADP’s 2015 HR Leaders Survey. What is particularly even more staggering however is that just 7% of employees say they have faith in their current leaders when asked.

This year, the HR Management Institute is fortunate to have Liz Gottung, SVP and CHRO at Kimberly-Clark Corporation join us July 17th -19th at the Four Seasons Westlake Village to conduct the opening keynote on her own leadership journey and the commitment Kimberly-Clark has to deepen and diversify its leadership bench. 

Take a look at our Q&A with Liz Gottung below for a sneak peek of what’s to come at the conference!


1.    At the HR Management Institute you are speaking on leadership and how to build better leaders in an HR team. What would you say is a top trait/quality that an HR executive needs to transform their role and become a successful and inspiring leader?

  • Ability to influence up, down and sideways
  • Understand business drivers and ensure that communication of expectations are clear and consistent
  • Insistence on best talent in critical roles

2.    According to ADP’s 2015 HR Leaders Survey only 33% of HR executives believe they have a strong leadership program in place. What does Kimberly-Clark do to ensure their leadership program is strong and diverse?

We ask our employees how our leaders are doing and what they could do better… both formally and informally. Our Diversity & Inclusion team works directly with the Talent group to ensure our programs meet the unique needs of a diverse global workforce.


3.    What are some common red flags/issues HR executives should be addressing in their current leadership program to improve it for the future?

•    Focus on imparting content knowledge versus sustainable behavior change. Too many leadership development programs seem to focus on human behavior theory, etc. without enough emphasis on:
    Accurately assessing the manager against required leadership skills
    Identifying and addressing the underlying causes of each participant’s developmental challenges
    Providing the best techniques, motivation, support, time and experiences needed to dramatically improve managers’ behaviors on the job

•    Lack of follow up coaching/reinforcement
    Organizational Development and Learning professionals are too often not integrated/aligned with the business strategy and can become overly attached to their own content and theories about adult learning. They are sometimes too focused on emotional intelligence rather than exploring the latest research in neuroscience and intelligence ensuring that their programs provide better business results and better leaders.


4.    What are you most looking forward to at the HR Management Institute?

I am especially looking forward to the interactive Think Tanks, particularly the ones about building coaching capability in leaders – an area of key focus for my team this year.

Are you interested in learning more? Don’t miss out on this opportunity to network with CHROs and VPs of HR like yourself through insightful business meetings, innovative think tank discussions, and intimate business meetings. Join the inner circle today.