Diagnose, don’t dream

Our ability to influence and to develop the human agenda within organisations depends on our ability to deliver successful solutions in to our businesses. Yet far too often, I see and hear of interventions that start from the solution and not from the diagnosis.

We have the answer before we know the questions.

Part of the reason for this is our eternal fixation with HR best practice and part of it is a need to feel that we are “delivering”. But I also think there is often a fundamental disconnect between our understanding of why we are in an organisation and the real value that we can add.

I’ve written before about the importance of marketing and also thinking about the impact on the end-user. And these have to be underpinned by a robust approach to diagnosis.

What are we trying to achieve?
How do we know that we need to achieve this?
What is the data that informs this?
What would success deliver?

I have a simple belief that in HR our “value add” is to make the organisation perform better. In order to do this we need to observe, sense and understand the areas of tension or friction, we need to relate these to the organisational system that we operate within. Then we need to be clever and creative in finding ways to drive improvement.

The simple benefit of doing this is that we can clearly articulate the need for the specific piece of work that we are doing, we can provide the context within the organisational system and then we can measure the impact. We base the need in the organisation, not in the HR department.

Influence comes from the ability to articulate our value, and that becomes a whole lot easier if we start with the diagnosis and end with the cure rather than just dreaming up need and repeatedly telling people what’s good for them.

Because none of us need that. Do we?