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Spring 2021 Advisory

Find the latest information SPS's plans for the Spring and University resources. Message from the Dean.
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Effective Partnership Strategies: Consulting Skills for HR Leaders

On 11/10, Dr. Jeff Pon visited Edna Chun’s Effective Partnership Strategies class to share his insights on consulting skills for HR leaders. Dr. Pon brings a wealth of HR knowledge and experience to the table, having served as the 11th Director of the United States Office of Personnel Management. Prior to that, he was SHRM’s Human Resource and Strategy Officer, responsible for setting the HR direction for the Society’s 285,000 members in 165 countries.

Key takeaways included:

1. Consulting skills are emerging and changing in more quantitative and analytical, directions as well as through the use of emotional intelligence. Companies like Adobe are creating titles like Chief Experience Officer, a role that oversees HR, IT, and marketing with a portfolio that is data-oriented. The focus now is on how HR delivers experiences that translate into productivity, purchase behavior, and organizational outcomes.

2. One of the most important consulting skills is listening first. As he explained, “The wise person is the one who says the least and understands the most.  It is an important skill for organizational consultants... to understand their clients, not only through listening, but also by synthesizing, repeating back what was said, sharing your expertise, and your experiences…."

3. Dr. Pon noted that in selection processes we often ask about job experience, but omit an important question, “What kind of organization do you want to work for?” He shared how in placing veterans this question has been important in identifying desired career paths. He also emphasized the importance of networking with those who hold positions in the areas you wish to pursue. 

4. The mark of a great leader is success through others rather than one’s own success.  

Comments from the students included: “Great class! Loved hearing Dr. Pon speak this evening." 

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of any other person or entity.