Tales from the Wendy House

I’ve been asked to talk about my career journey at a women’s networking event on Thursday of this week. It got me thinking about how I’ve got to be a CEO of my own business. In my head I coined the term “Accidental CEO”. Why? Because I never planned it or was it because there weren’t many role models of HR Directors becoming CEO’s?

I’ve worked with people over the years who have always had the dream of either owning their own business or heading up a business. But what about an HR person becoming a CEO? It doesn’t happen very often. In fact, the only other person I know was my previous boss who made that transition.

So why not? Do all CEO’s have to have a Finance or Commercial background? Well, clearly they don’t, but HR seems to be a profession that supports the CEO. How can we change this I wonder?

In my view, a CEO is someone who understands how business works, but more importantly understands how people work. Surely that gives HR professionals an advantage. I know my journey consists of working for leaders who thought that people management was critical to the success of the business and not a “nice to have” – maybe that’s the starting point.

I’m sure there are a lot of accidental CEO’s out there, but what would be great is if, when succession planning in organisations, the value of a good HRD or Chief People Officer is considered and the post holders grab the opportunity to demonstrate that strong leadership through people management is a key attribute for this role.

And as for Strategi succession planning? Guess where our MD Robert Fisher started out?

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