“Absorb warrior. Agile, watchful and highly evolved

“Absorb what is useful, discard what
is useless and add what is specifically your own” – Bruce Lee          

I
have always been fascinated by Kung-Fu – Shaolin Kung Fu to be precise. Shaolin
philosophy has a treasure trove of timeless principles that are relevant to all
walks of life, including HR leadership.    

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The
CHRO of the future will be like a Shaolin warrior. Agile, watchful and highly evolved
with nimble reflexes, who can be tough as nails, and yet rooted in genuine compassion
and a sincere respect for all. As we hurtle towards workspaces of the future,
embracing and catalyzing change will be a career-critical skill. To create a
winning culture, the CHRO must be a constant learner – proactively planning,
de-risking the organization through skilling and technology programs, and
fiercely nurturing a strong values-driven Company culture.

To
do the above, Bruce Lee’s quote of ‘absorbing the useful’, ‘discarding the
useless’ and ‘adding what is your own’ becomes key.

Absorbing
the Useful – the CHRO must stay tuned to industry updates and emerging
technologies, and share important skills and knowledge with his/her team to truly
create a scalable HR leadership department, which in turn will develop ‘next
practices’ to fuel the organization’s vision into action and results. The CHRO
will be a valued coach to the organization’s leadership, and a trusted confidante
and advisor to the CEO on all human capital matters.

Discarding
the Useless – the CHRO will champion innovation by encouraging automation, and simplify
processes that are arduous, costly to execute and repetitive. He/she will constantly
introspect, discard legacy processes that have lost relevance, and remove what
is not needed – to keep the Company nimble and futuristic.

Add
What is Your Own – the CHRO will lead ‘bespoke’ signature programs that are
customized scientifically to the organization’s unique needs. Instead of
vanilla off-the-shelf programs, the CHRO will carefully analyze internal data,
evaluate industry practices and craft programs to enhance revenue, better
margins, reduce costs, maximize employee engagement and enhance customer
delight. Be it talent engagement tools for a multi-generational workforce, innovative
hiring models, creative career development paths to mobilize hidden stars or
building business leaders for the future – each program will be tailored for
rapid execution, and highly measurable results.

“I fear not the man who has practiced
10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”
– Bruce Lee

Yet
another trait of the CHRO of Tomorrow will his/her focus on the power of
‘specialization’. While the CHRO will be a well-rounded professional in all
aspects of HR, he/she will value the importance of specialists, instead of
trying to do everything using one’s own perceived capabilities. The CHRO of the
future will be a networker par excellence – quickly bringing in specialists on-demand
to create immediate positive impact in the shortest period to help business
goals. Simultaneously, the CHRO will leverage these experts to create scale and
career pathing by establishing widespread learning and skilling opportunities
for all.

“Exchanging blows generously, which
is not uncommon in some other martial arts, is unthinkable in Shaolin
philosophy, because a Shaolin disciple always assumes that an opponent is
competent and able to inflict damage with just one blow.” – Wong Kiew Kit, Art
of Shaolin Kung Fu

Finally,
the CHRO of Tomorrow will be defined by a great strength of character. This by
far has been, and will continue to be the most important part of a CHRO’s role.
Strength of character at work stems directly from the CHRO’s own individual
personality and personal value system. A CHRO must hold himself/herself to the
highest ideals of truth, mutual respect, inclusivity, excellence and dignity.

As
in the quote above, the CHRO of tomorrow will never under-estimate the
competence of other players in the eco-system in a rapidly changing business
environment. Instead, he/she will keep pushing the boundaries (be it in
‘digital thinking’ or breaking new grounds in ‘innovation’), and will actively build
robust defense controls to safeguard business, while rapidly learning,
evolving, and executing to stay future-ready.