Ram Charan’s biggest advice for Chief HR Officer success

Ram Charan, keynote speaker at HR Technology Conference & Exposition® China, shared some key ideas for HR leaders in the digital age.
By: | September 20, 2019

Putting the right people in the right jobs: That responsibility alone should consume 80% of an HR leader’s time, if they are working to align their company with the new digital-based reality of business.

That was the message legendary global business adviser and author Ram Charan hammered home when speaking with thousands of HR executives gathered in China recently.

Ensuring that your company hires the right people and puts them in the right jobs will ensure your value to the company and its success, the keynote speaker told nearly 10,000 HR leaders attending HR Technology Conference & Exposition® China in Shanghai this spring. Charan, who has spent his career advising leaders of such companies as GE, Bank of America, DuPont, and Verizon, provided one key tool for accomplishing that. “Practice it,” he insisted, just as a potential Olympic athlete would practice their sport to be successful.

“Your first thing to do is to improve your judgment analysis of identifying the talent in human beings,” he said.

His recommended tool? Immediately after meeting someone who works for you, with you or above you, evaluate their talents or gifts.

Ram Charan

“Take 30 seconds after you finish and recite to yourself, ‘What is the talent of this person?’ ” he said. Articulate the talents precisely and without considering any of their negative qualities. Memorise the talents you identify — strive to identify three of them, he says —and then verify those talents when you meet again. This will help you ensure everyone is in the right job.

Consider Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple. He had three talents:

  • the ability to figure out what the consumer wanted;
  • the ability to link technology with the consumer’s desires; and
  • the ability to produce those things with high margins.

Jobs focused on those responsibilities at Apple and was able to create what would become the world’s first trillion-dollar company.

With those you meet, consistently and regularly ask, “What is this person’s talent? What is this person’s gift? Ask others to tell you what yours is. Expand them, hone them, practice them,” Charan said. And then consider what job fits those talents.

“If the fit is good, then you see a lot of energy, a lot of motivation, and people love to get out of bed when the fit is good,” he said. “Right people in the right jobs.”

Charan provided several tips for Chief HR Officers wanting to become a key part of an organisation’s leadership team. Here are a few others:

  • Become predictive, especially in hiring. Think eight quarters ahead about what kind of talent will be needed and start pursuing it now;
  • Use data to provide the foundation for using your intuition and your judgment;
  • Design your organisation’s structure for speed and adaptability because strategies change so often; and
  • Delegate and/or automate transactions so you can find, hire and retain the right people, in the right jobs.

Next year, HR Technology Conference & Exposition® China will take place on June 16 and 17 at the Shanghai Expo Center.