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Jan 6, 2014

I had no idea that they took my candidacy seriously since I did not have a background in TV or Film. However, I was told by the board president that they wanted talent and that it was hard to find.

That was music to my ears as the story was relayed to me at a New Year’s Eve party. My friend had gotten a job as the Senior Vice President at a major non-profit organization.

An attorney by training, a lecturer at an Ivy League school, and a philanthropist with no background in TV or film — yet he was the chosen one.

An opportunity for HR

The year 2014 will present organizations with unrelenting challenges. A few items that will (or should) drive the leadership agenda are culture and innovation with talent behind the wheel. This is a huge opportunity for HR.

Talent has to be looked at in a totally different light. I recently was a keynote speaker at a Talent and Diversity Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. My discussion centered on “group-think” within the organization.

Hire everyone with the same background and work history and you are in danger of entering the group-think zone. Hire outside the job description and experience and seek TALENT, and you could be planting the seeds for innovative thought.

A leadership team is especially vulnerable to group-think when its members are similar in background, and when the group is insulated from outside opinions.

Culture should be the entrée

The other big topic that should be on the radar of every CEO should be the big “C.” It is said that culture eats strategy for breakfast. This quote was attributed to Peter Drucker around 2006.

No matter how far-reaching a leader’s vision, or how brilliant the strategy, neither one will happen if not supported by an organization’s culture. Without this key component in place, forget about innovation.

Culture comes from the top and it must be driven by the CEO. Culture should be job No. 1 for the CEO and their team.

If the leadership team is relatively new and your culture is characterized by bitterness, distrust, fear and other maladies, it must be replaced. There is no way for getting it back on track if you don’t first deal with it head on.

How Ford made culture the key

It you are striving to be creative, innovation with a sense of responsibility for the entire organization is a huge gap that cannot be ignored. Ford Motor Company is a perfect example.

They were in this same situation with all the above maladies and probably more. The new leadership team had the quote “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast posted in their war room so that it stayed front and center throughout all workplace discussions. One look at Ford today and they should be the poster child for cracking the culture code

The bar must be raised throughout all organizations. The focus has to be on creating a culture where innovation thrives.

When this organizational strength is magnified and you become known for your culture, it can become a source of competitive advantage. Think of any organization that is known for its culture and you have an organization that has figured out the importance of this key component to organizational success.

Embrace the new normal: CHANGE

Any business in today’s fast-moving environment that is looking for the pace of change to slow is likely to be sorely disappointed.

Change IS the new normal. It will never get back to what you may have been used to. In today’s environment, business should embrace change because in actuality that is the new constant.

Change is important for any organization because, without it you would lose your competitive edge and being able to compete within your industry.

Organizations that embrace this change mantra will benefit resulting in new ways of looking at customer needs, new ways of strengthening customer interactions, and new products that might attract new markets. It will take a new way of thinking throughout an organization to become successful in today’s environment.

HR is in the driver’s seat — again

The old ways of doing things, where we did it because we always did it that way, will drive you into the abyss.

So as we move to this new era of an organization, HR is again in the driver’s seat to guide these new initiatives. Whether it is culture alignment, talent strategy, or change management, they are all competencies that should be embraced by the new HR leadership.

This is our area of responsibility and in this new normal, we have hit the trifecta.

Welcome to 2014 and beyond!