Dear Mr. CEO, stop being such a baby

sweepI was talking with a CFO buddy of mine last night – he’s with a large telecommunications organization – 5,000+ employees.  Anyway, he was complaining about their HR Leader and his inability to integrate successfully with the rest of the leadership team.  He expanded by suggesting the HR Leader was always one step behind everyone else: has trouble seeing the bigger picture, thinking beyond programmatic responses to issues, rarely adding anything creative.  I asked him how long the guy had been there, and he said 5 years.  I said, “no way.”  He said, “yes way.”  Shame on you, CFO buddy.  And shame on your peers.

Would you allow a CEO, COO or CFO, who wasn’t making the grade on this level, to stick around that long?  Why does there seem to be more tolerance for mediocre HR performance than there is for other roles?  The longer C-Suite Leaders put up with mediocre performance from HR, the longer they’ll get it.  It’s up to that group to demand the most from us.  Stop crying about your HR Leader not being strategic enough and go out and find one who is.  It’s not like they don’t exist.  If, Mr. CEO, you’ve tried – really tried - to give your HR leader the opportunity to add value to your organization through strategic contributions, innovations, forward thinking, thought leadership, and they haven’t responded, then get rid of the clown.  You’re doing the organization a disservice.  But more importantly, you’re doing the HR profession a disservice.  Stop sweeping HR under the rug…keeping them hidden in some back corner because ”they just don’t get it.”  Man(Woman) Up and deal with it.  Make tough decisions, be highly demanding, and hold us accountable.  And if all else fails, fire us for goodness sake.

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6 Responses to Dear Mr. CEO, stop being such a baby
  1. Jennifer
    November 4, 2009 | 3:18 pm

    Well said! It’s situations like these that give HR folks a bad name. I can’t tell you how many times I hear from friends “oh, our HR person stinks”. Then why is she/he allowed to stay? It is frustrating!

  2. laurie ruettimann
    November 8, 2009 | 9:47 pm

    I think C-Level executives are bullies and like to kick puppies.

    Not really.

    But it’s so easy to pick on HR. It’s unimaginative and lame. I’m bored with CEOs and CFOs who rag on “personnel” and HR. Such morons.

  3. laurie ruettimann
    November 8, 2009 | 9:48 pm

    Also, blaming HR is the universal way to change the subject when you are a poor leader. It’s not HR’s job to motivate your organization. It’s your job. Nut up.

  4. Charlie Judy
    November 11, 2009 | 11:15 am

    all i can say, laurie, is that you and i speakie same language. and here’s the other part…when HR tries to stand up to those poor leaders, they often are labeled as uncooperative/rebellious/ineffective. double standard all around…

  5. theresumechick
    November 16, 2009 | 6:36 pm

    The title is brilliant! Sums it up really…

    In the end, it will always be a blame game… but gees, yea, CEO’s and other C-levels- they just like their puffed up attitudes, and treating others like they don’t get it… when usually, from what I have seen- it is the other way around…

    And then it all comes down to them having to make a decision- YIKES! an executive decision? They all start scratching their heads. And everyone wonders why the economy is in such a bad state. Perhaps HR and C-Levels should switch jobs….lol

    Ahh well… gotta love em… nobody else does!

    Ok- done ranting… back to resume writing!

  6. Charlie Judy
    November 17, 2009 | 10:46 am

    the workplace can be like the world championships of blame games. i like a leader who’s not afraid of accountability and – newsflash – if you’re at the top, you’re accountable for everything! thanks for the comment.

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