Who is the co-pilot in your organisation?

I recently took to the stage at the HRD Summit in Birmingham at a great event with a diverse speaking agenda and a discerning audience.  A core message I wanted to share was my belief that

HR leaders need to be the co-pilot in an organisation

Who is the co-pilot in your organisation? Invariably it’s the Finance Director when he or she should be in the navigator’s seat! Surely the HR Director should be in the co-pilots seat if “People are your most important asset”?

Now clearly the HRD can’t ask to be the co-pilot or indeed demand to be…they just need to be it. I’ve seen it happen where a HRD has become the co-pilot through fear and control. It’s tempting isn’t it? All that influence over who stays and who goes. Who gets promoted, who gets the big pay rise. The closed office meetings where one of the attendees leaves suddenly or the big juicy secret squirrel downsizing programmes.

How about getting in the seat from a position of “Hope”? Driving ambition, belief and confidence into the business. Being the conscience where the board can’t walk out of the boardroom misaligned on key strategic decisions. Floating the controversial debates into key meetings, embracing social media to give everyone a voice on key business decisions, making sure critical business programmes have enough of the right resource.

Then there’s role modelling. How about being the best communicator, the most customer-centric, the best performance coach in the business, having the strongest relationships with opinion formers. Your CEO needs a coach, a right hand woman, a confidante, a motivator, a trusted ear. Top athletes have coaches.

That co-pilot seat is waiting!

Who have you seen co-pilot well? Why don’t more HR leaders co-pilot?