Mindful Leader Series 3 – Conaty Risks Renewal

While some HR staff complain of too little respect at work, HR veteran, Bill Conaty  won the 2004 HR Executive of the Year for risks he took to promote talent and raise HR status at GM.  He reversed downturns into bubbles, more because of his vision for renewal possibilities, than any call for respect.

In fact Conaty admits to being brutally candid about where people stand, and his critics suggest that his brutal side at times wins over candid, when it comes to ranking workers and axing the bottom 10 percent. Have you facilitated talent in spite of your missteps or lack of respect?

What starts with trust often ends in talented communities that build together. Similarly, leaders who create trust within their workplace, also tend to build golden highways for risks that spark renewal.  Have you seen it?

In Secrets of and HR Superstar, Jack Welch said of Conaty:

He  (Conaty) has enormous trust at every level. The union guys respect him as much as the senior managers. :

With more and more talent rising through ranks of smaller firms we’re seeing a new surge of gifted leaders on one hand and a looming shortage of talent nationwide on the other. When the two forces of trust and risk work together symbiotically, talent rises to the driver’s seat and renewal follows. Many leaders report, however, a sever lack of renewal opportunities.  At the same time, smaller and sometimes more firms, struggle for survival with few resources.

Here are some questions I’d like to hear Bill Conaty address during his talk on “Talent management, at the 2000 World Business Forum, where I was invited to blog live in Radio City Hall.

  1. How does new talent find its way past gatekeepers who guard turf or dodge leaders who salt away company cash rather than risk renewal?
  2. What is it that enables forward thinkers to find dollars to risk renewal, while others in similar settings stagnate?
  3. What would it take for a corporate HR leader to collaborate with more talent in smaller or specialized firms?
  4. How much should HR leaders look beyond a company’s own walls, and beyond its own culture to diversify and develop new talent that improves performance?
  5. What advice would you offer smaller firms who avoid the rigid routines of big business, but lack the resources stockpiled in larger organizations?

Renewal may require experts in larger more established firms to team with talent in newly developed firms.  Imagine leadership risks that bring such teams together to restore talent’s place with the brain more in mind. Have you seen renewal happen?

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