21457011 - bucharest, romania - july 3, 2013: a bmw m3 car drives through a beautiful scenery, at sunset. the bmw m3 is a high-performance version of the bmw 3-series, developed by bmw's motorsport division, bmw m.

Have you ever wanted to be the President of your organization?  Have you ever believed it was possible for you to go from an HR position to the Presidency?  How would someone actually ever do that?  Actually, there are more and more Presidents of corporations coming out of HR, primarily due to their soft skills and understanding of how to negotiate and reason through the myriad of business issues, many of which have their roots in personnel related matters.  

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What does it take to be considered for the position of President of an organization?  First, you must understand the business at an operational and strategic level.  The best way to gain this understanding is to work outside of HR in one or more operational positions.  I personally worked in manufacturing operations while in high school as an hourly production employee.  Later, in my professional career, I was able to manage a production operation with a crew of over 100 people. 

My experience is not extensive, however, because of it, I better understand what production employees and their managers have to deal with on a daily basis. Obviously, in order to become President of a company you have to serve in another high-level executive position.  This is where you will be involved in strategic decision-making and should come to understand the other areas of the company to the best of your ability, i.e. Marketing, Sales, R&D, Finance, Legal, Operations, etc.

Second, you should give other people credit for the work they do and not be a glory hound. This is often something people really do not think much about.  However, giving others credit for the work they do demonstrates to others that you are confident and secure.  It also indicates you are a team player and that you know it takes more than one person to accomplish the goals of the organization. Perhaps most important, giving credit to others instills loyalty in those you give credit.  Many of these people will similarly speak well of you to others and work hard to make you successful in the future.

Finally, I have always believed you should treat everyone with utmost respect, whether it be the cleaning person, the President, or anyone in between.  Treating people well, regardless of level, helps you gain respect, helps you gain credibility across the organization and subsequently shows that you are able to relate to all levels.

By setting your goals high and following the above advice, you may not make it to the President’s suite, but you will probably achieve more than you would have otherwise. 

As always, Kelly and I appreciate you listening to Survive HR!  Please feel free to reach out to us if we can serve you in any way!

All the best!

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Steve Nail is currently the Dean, College of Business, at Anderson University. He is a labor and employment attorney who began his career with the National Labor Relations Board. Thereafter, he served as Assistant General Counsel for Michelin, including two stints in France, where he worked on the structuring of the European Economic Community and served in the HR and Legal Departments. Later he served as the Vice President of Labor and Employee Relations before moving on to Hubbell where he served as the Vice President of Human Resources. Steve was appointed by Governor Nikki Haley to serve on the SC Healthcare Planning Committee and was reappointed by Governor McMaster in 2018. Steve was named the 2012 South Carolina HR Professional of the Year and awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, by the Greenville SHRM chapter. He is a frequent speaker, a published author, and mentor to many in the HR profession. He often coaches individuals and consults organizations on strategic matters. He is a Register Corporate Coach, certified by the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches and holds SPHR and SHRM-SCP certifications.