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  • Writer's pictureNanang Chalid

HR Leader as a "Stage Director"

Updated: Jun 1, 2019

There are moments in which you are being reminded of why you choose HR as a profession at the first place. For me, one of those moments came in this week, when Indonesian delegate to the Unilever Future Leaders League (UFLL) global round has won the 1st prize and bring the trophy home to our country. As the owner of the national UFLL event in Indonesia, aiming to send out a delegate that will win as Global Champion is always the ultimate target.

When Indonesia won as Global Unilever Future Leaders League Champion 2019, beating the other 26 national teams from various Unilever operating countries, I feel very proud and fulfilled. Not because of dozen’s applause and pats-in-the back from my line manager and the Board to my Employer Brand team and me, nor because of the congratulations received from internal and external peers, or nor the bullish feeling for knowing that I had batted my KPI in a big home-run. Those are all secondaries. The primary satisfaction is because through the UFLL platform, I can help to evolve talented Indonesian undergraduate students (Rakhee, Wentvin, and Velia) who has diamonds of potential got the stage they deserved – not as local brilliants, not as national champs, but global winners. And when you bet on someone, and they indeed made it, that is when you feel like winning a jackpot as an HR person. To use a "movie metaphor", HR leader is the Stage Director of a great performing arts. The biggest applause would go to the Actors and Actresses, but the perennial happiness and pride came to you.

More about the news on Indonesia winning the global event, is in below link :

Why a Stage Director?

Being HR person is all about playing big roles, backstage. I recalled the moment when I was interviewed for the job 15 years back. I had intended to apply for Consumer and Market Insights (CMI) function, and after a business case simulation, I received the feedback from the panel: “Nanang, we think you are not a CMI person, we believe you can be a great HR talent“ – and they continued by saying that I helped the team to find solution in constructive ways, ask the right questions, and help the team to move forward. And all was done despite I was not being the group leader. In a consumer good companies where the driving functions are the customer-facing and those who work within the core value-chain (i.e. Marketing, Sales, Supply Chain, Finance) being HR person means that you will need to realize that you must humble enough to take a bow silently for a great job well done. And the job well done for HR functions lies in results that is not immediately seen: taken-for-granted high morale that lead to low attrition and high engagement, great succession plan that lead to line-up of Leaders who can unlock growth and dealt with business dynamics, great productivity due to the right organization design that able to synergize interface with clear ways of working, and culture that is collaborative, yet held people accountable and agile enough to respond with changes in the business. If you are choosing HR as profession, be ready to play that important Stage-Director role.

The joy of being HR person is on unleashing talent’s potential. Back to the story of the winning team, the ultimate satisfaction for me is knowing that the three of them would have a bright-future well set. They currently have the winning confidence to take on the world, as they have once won Global round of such challenging competition. With that experience, I’m sure they are ready to face the hardest possible challenge that will come into their life, and they will conquer it again, and again. Just like a Stage Director who believe that their Actor and Actresses can perform more challenging scripts once they have done one-of-a-kind performance, just like the Global UFLL round.

So, are you ready to bring the best out of your Actors and Actresses in your next show?

HR Leader is like a stage director for business leaders and talents. We work backstage, and get perennial happiness and fulfillment by knowing that these talents and leaders are successful. If you want to be thriving in HR profession, do have that humility and purpose.

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