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The ability of senior HR leaders to initiate and manage strategic conversations is becoming a critical skill, requiring a comprehensive understanding of the wider business and a perspective that extends well beyond their functional expertise.
Strategic HR conversations should fulfill several important roles, most notably challenging assumptions, predicting outcomes, diagnosing problems, taking the temperature of the organization regularly, and prescribing actions which add value to the wider business. The arguments need to be supported by an extensive use of rich HR data to be credible. Successful strategic conversations entail candor, the ability to suspend judgement and openness, which collectively trigger new ideas and enable trade-offs to be weighted and decisions made.