Is anyone interested in an HR boss swap?On 2 Mar 2004 in Personnel Today I’ve been watching recent episodes of TV’s Boss Swap with considerableinterest. Bosses that are highly successful in one environment were whollyunable to transfer their skills to another. Why? Was it due to somethingintangible or difficult to quantify, such as company culture? If so, what doesthat mean for the current HR vogue of trying to measure everythingstatistically or by reference to so-called ‘hard data’? It certainly begs the question as to whether bosses create an environment inwhich the workforce thrives, or not. In Boss Swap , it quickly became apparentthat established behaviours in participating companies were a powerful force.Attempts to change them were often unsuccessful and frequently led to thealienation of employees. This certainly has implications for the much-vaunted processof change management. It seems that without truly engaging the workforce, theprospects of real success are slim. Boss Swap gives insights into why leaders can be enormously successful inone organisation or sector, yet fail so overwhelmingly in another. Certainlythe case is made that in HR, as in so much of life, one size does not fit all.People strategies need to be tailored to an organi- sation, then threadedthroughout it from top to bottom. Boss Swap was successful in that as much as the participating leaders failedto readily transfer their skills, they did all recognise they had learned fromthe experience. There was a degree of humility perhaps, in recognising that a ‘leader’ inone organisation could not necessarily demand or expect ‘followers’ in another.Achievement of change, it seems, is as much about winning hearts and minds asit is about facts and figures. It was also apparent that none of these medium-sized organisations in theprogramme appeared to have any HR professional of stature represented. Whyshould this be the case, I wondered, and would things have been materiallybetter had there been such representation? So what can HR professionals learn from the Boss Swap series then? Maybe weneed to accept that however successful our strategies are in one business, theymay not transfer easily. Perhaps we all need to recognise and try to capturesofter behaviours in our organisations and to value these as highly as hardoutput measures. And most of all, perhaps, we should all actively seekdifferent experiences in our HR careers. Much improved networking would enableus to learn from others, prepare us to lead, and lead others to lead inunfamiliar environments. Certainly my own experience in top HR roles in both private and publicsectors have been challenging and rewarding in quite different ways. HR bossswap anyone? By Paul Pagliari, Head of HR, Scottish Water Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.