Time to Define Leadership As Separate HR Function?

Internationally acclaimed business consultant Ram Charan has suggested that the corporate HR function be split into two strands.

“HR-LO [for leadership and organization] would be led by high-potentials from operations or finance whose business expertise and people skills give them a strong chance of attaining the top two layers of the organization,” Charan has said. “After a few years, these high-potentials would move to either horizontal or higher-level line management jobs. In either case they would continue to rise, so their time in HR-LO would be seen as a developmental step rather than a ticket-punching exercise.”

The other strand, HR-A (for administration) would primarily manage compensation and benefits.

“But a key issue missing here,” says Jeanne Meister, author of The 20/20 Workplace, “is the fact that all C-level executives from CMO to CIO and CHRO need to develop a deep business acumen for both their company as well as broader industry in order to add value beyond their functional area. This will apply to both the HR-A and HR-LO. While the proposal is radical, it forces us to examine the value we create today and what is possible as businesses become more complex.”

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