25: Becoming an Inspirational HR Leader

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Gordon Tredgold offers advice for new HR leaders, sharing insights on how to inspire your team through focus, accountability, simplicity and transparency. You’ll love his great anecdotes, sports analogies and real life examples. As a former business transformation and IT expert, Gordon delivered $100M programs, ran $300M departments, and led teams of 1000+ staff for Fortune 100 companies. He is an international speaker, delivering inspiring keynotes that give people the keys to their powerful successful future and a critically acclaimed author, executive and business coach. Gordon regularly contributes to Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur, and Huffington Post. 

Key Learnings From This Episode

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  • Gordon’s passion. Gordon enjoys surprising people, in either what he does or in helping them realize what they can do. Through coaching, he looks to inspire people. Motivational speakers give people a motive, a reason to do things. Inspirational speakers fire the imagination and get people to take action. They help give you the vision, the plan, and the belief that you can do something, which gets people excited to get started. People are not afraid of hard work, they are afraid of failure.  When you can show them how they will be successful, if it is aligned with their aspirations, then people will do it.
  • About Gordon’s book, FAST. The book is about inspiring people. It is about: 
    • Focus  – clarity about what you are going to do
    • Accountability – knowing who is involved, making sure they understand and taking ownership of it
    • Simplicity – how you do it. If the plan is simple and you can understand it, then you believe you can do it
    • Transparency – knowing what is involved and then measuring your progress along the way.  
FAST is about what, who, how and how far. When you clarify all of these things, people can see how they are going to be successful, they can measure it and see that they are being successful, and it will motivate them to achieve amazing results.
  • Gordon’s advice to new HR Leaders on staying focused on your plan. An HR Leader needs his/her team to be focused; to keep goals to a minimum; and to ensure those goals are not conflicting or competing. If the team is working on initiatives they feel are conflicting or competing, they begin to feel they are not making progress and become demotivated. If you can get all of your team pulling in the same/right direction, they are going to be more effective and more motivated. If you are a first time leader, make sure:
    • Instructions you give to your team are clear
    • Your team is aiming at the right target
    • There’s no confusion, conflict, or competition between those goals
If you do that, you are setting your team up for success, and you can leave them to execute. If you don’t give them clarity, they are going to be confused and will come back constantly for direction. The HR Leader should focus on what is important - is it customer satisfaction, profit?  Don’t focus just on revenue. If you are not focused on these things, then what are you focused on? Get alignment between your priorities and goals. Finally, aim small, miss small. If you miss a small goal, you can still have a degree of success. If your goal is too broad and you miss, then you’ve missed everything.
  • Being accountable is about owning up and accepting your own mistakes. Accountability builds trust – trust is the cornerstone of leadership. As a leader, make sure you have identified clear roles and responsibilities so people know what they are doing. Hold people accountable for outcomes - not results, and then be accountable. You get people to take ownership when you, as the leader, take ownership yourself. Ask your team ‘do you have everything you need to do this job?’ It is a yes or no answer.  

    If someone says ‘no’, they are unable to take ownership because they do not believe they have all of the resources they need.  It is then the leader’s job to fill that gap. When they say ‘yes’, they have taken accountability. You cannot delegate accountability, people have to accept it. Congratulate them when they succeed. If they fail, ask them what happened - ‘you had everything you needed and yet it still didn’t happen.’ If you are in charge and a good leader, you want people to come and tell you ‘I need help’. If they tell you ‘after the ship has sunk’, ask ‘couldn’t you have mentioned this before?’

    Research shows that for projects that fail, 70% of the time the people on the team knew it was going to fail before they even started. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy – if they don’t think it is going to succeed, once it starts to fail, they say ‘I told you’, and they watch it fail. If people are watching a project go off the rails and are asking themselves ‘what can we do to fix this?’ they have gone into solution mode. It might be that there is a valid concern and you might be able to fix it.

  • On Simplicity.  When we overcomplicate things, we don’t believe it is going to succeed, and it can stop us from trying.

‘Life is simple, man complicates it.’ Confucius  ‘Complexity is the enemy of execution.’ Tony Robbins. 

  • Transparency is about what is involved and monitoring and tracking your progress. Do your due diligence, maintain visibility in monitoring your progress, and adjust as appropriate.

Recommended Reading and References from this Episode

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Gordon Tredgold HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Gordon Tredgold HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 8:00am
Kyle O'Connor
Gordon Tredgold
HR Studio Podcast