Industry Insights

Are your functional leaders adding value as business advisors?

Posted by Sebastien Lamiaux on Jun 11, 2015, 6:00:00 AM

Over the past few years, we have had the opportunity of partnering with several organizations that were looking to develop their functional leaders to the next level: from technical experts in their functional area to becoming high-value business partners to their peers in other functions.

In one case, we helped finance directors deepen their understanding of the business so they could add more value during the strategic planning process and when reviewing investment requests.

In another, we worked with IT directors who were expected to collaborate more closely with business leaders and marketing executives, as big data and digital are increasing the stakes and the value IT can provide to the organization.

We are currently working with the HR leaders of a top industrial company to help them become trusted advisors to the business.

Our experience reflects a larger trend, as illustrated in this piece of research, published by Deloitte, focused on the HR function:

The Reskilled HR Team
"HR pros need an increasingly wide range of skills, not only in talent areas, but also in understanding how the business works, makes money, and competes. How are HR teams staying current and viable?"

For HR, as well as the other functions above, “creating value must start with an understanding of the market and customers. This should not be limited to internal customers. Indeed, at least initially the focus should be external”.

This quote is taken from Niall McDonagh's article last year called 3 Marketing Questions HR Should Ask

Whatever the functional audience (IT, Finance , HR, Operations or R&D leaders), we have found  that immersing leaders in a competitive business simulation  workshop  produces great results:  it accelerates their understanding and appreciation for the market , the business and the customers, while providing an engaging and emotional experience that expands their mind-sets.  Following the simulation, leaders reflect on their internal customers, how they can add more value in their new roles as business partners, and this sets the process in motion.

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