HR TIP OF THE MONTH: 3 Must-Read Books for a Successful HR Leader

HR Thought Leader Eva Sage-Gavin serves as Accenture’s senior managing director for talent and organization consulting practice. In her recent HRExecutive.com article, she identifies three books that she believes are must-reads for successful HR leaders.

 A common thread runs through the books I’m highlighting. As a former CHRO and in my current role leading a talent and transformation consulting practice, I have the privilege of working with boards of directors, C-suite teams, businesses, educational institutions, the public sector and not-for-profit organizations. In my daily experience, I sense something occurring, regardless of industry sector or geography. Humans are being called upon to be more—well, human than ever.

Why? Because as technology changes the way we work—as humans and machines become not just coworkers but partners—our creativity, inspiration, empathy and inventiveness are increasingly important.

Each of these books emphasizes our uniquely human potential and capabilities. And each reminds me what is most important to bring to our workplaces. As leaders of our teams and our organizations, this enlightened emphasis on the human side of who we are is a North Star for us.

  1. Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility
    If you’re not familiar with author Patty McCord, she helped create the high-performing culture at Netflix (authoring the Netflix culture deck), where she was chief talent officer. I love her take on fostering a balance of freedom and responsibility in workers. I also admire her concept of radical honesty—holding people in our organizations (and ourselves) to a standard of transparency that fosters success and is incredibly powerful when done with compassion.
  2. Everything I Needed to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book
    The opening line in her book -- “Is your life starting to feel like a circus? Don’t panic.” As the former editorial director at Golden Books/Random House, Diane put the folksy wisdom of the books many of us read as children (and read to our children) to good use. In an age of complexity, this book is a refreshing recipe for keeping it simple. It’s a reminder of the basics, encouraging us to welcome fresh beginnings and practice reinvention. You can read it in mere minutes—an added plus.
  3. Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI
    Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s CTIO, and Jim Wilson, its managing director of IT and business research, have written a much-needed management playbook for success in the age of artificial intelligence. It describes six new types of hybrid human and machine roles that will evolve as companies develop their workforce of the future. And it doesn’t skimp on how that impacts the human side of this new world—the workers you and I have top of mind every day in our roles. One of my favorite ideas from the book links to competitiveness: “Those companies that are using machines merely to replace humans will eventually stall, whereas those that think of innovative ways for machines to augment humans will become the leaders of their industries. As HR executives, we can help breaking down limiting organizational silos. That’s exciting. We can be part of ushering the next era of business in successfully.

As we head into the holiday season, find some time to discover a good book, along with vacation time to recharge and reflect.

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