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Build Strategic Collaborative Partnership

Build Collaborative Partnership

As Human Resources, IT, Finance, Legal, Compliance or Support Services professionals, we have expertise that is critical for the survival and growth of the organization. Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves being underutilized, overworked with transactional tasks, and being asked to “fix” situations, things and people.

Do you find yourself frustrated when:

  • Your leaders come to you at the last minute to implement something?

  • You aren’t involved early enough in the process to influence decisions and share your ideas?

  • Most of your day is spent putting out fires and not focusing on strategic issues?

  • You have so much more expertise to offer the organization, but they don’t appreciate it or even ask for your expertise?

  • You are asked to “handle” tough conversations, “problem” people, and fix them?

We want to have our expertise utilized and be treated as trusted advisors, but our clients don’t know how to utilize us or worse, they don’t want to work with us collaboratively.

The good news is that we can adjust our own approach and behaviour to be better utilized. Many times, despite our best intentions, we have trained our leaders to treat us the way they do. In the spirit of customer satisfaction and “the customer is always right” mentality, we end up agreeing to do what they ask, even when it’s not the best thing for them or the organization. If we attempt to push back or disagree, we are afraid they get upset with us and even go to our boss to complain. Many of our leaders don’t know they can utilize us any other way than “fixing” things and implementing their ideas.

There is a better way. We have the power and opportunity to change the conversations we are having with operational leaders and our own leadership.

We can work in three distinct roles with our leaders and clients:

1. Expert Role - They count on us to fix things with our expertise, and they don’t want to be involved in the diagnosis or solution. “Make it go away” is their mantra.

Examples of this role are:

a. Talk to my employee for me.

b. Jerry isn’t working well with his team, go help him out.

c. Can you handle this situation for me like before?

2. Pair of Hands Role – They come to us with their solution, and they want us to implement it. “Don’t ask questions, just get it done for me”. We end up being order takers and implementing suboptimal solutions and sometimes solutions that can damage people and the organization. Examples of this role are:

a. My team needs training on conflict management.

b. Go hire this type of person or go hire this person.

c. I don’t have time to check my benefits portal, can’t you just find out for me?

3. Collaborative Role – We share the responsibility and accountability with the leaders to diagnose and develop solutions. Our expertise is equally utilized along with their expertise. Examples of this role are:

a. I’m beginning to look at how my org structure isn’t working for us. Will you come work with me to analyze what we need to do and how we can get a better org design?

b. My team is struggling with this new program. Will you come meet with us to better understand what it is and how we can make it work?

c. We just completed our engagement survey and I'm concerned about the results. Would you work with us to help us understand how best to address it?

For a copy of the above infographic, Download Now.

Article by Jeff Evans, Designed Learning®.

It's a good training for HR profession. It helps HR to become a real business partner through various approaches: contracting, discovery and feedback. The more important: it helps HR to think and act as a professional consultant with their unique and powerful perspectives. Madelaine Zhang, HR Director, Whirlpool


If this topic is useful to you, let’s schedule a chat. Feel free to share this blog with others in your network. Thank you!

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