The CEO of Mighty Telecommunications, Sharon Wentworth, meets with the new VP of HR, Thomas Brody. Sharon points out to Thomas that many administrative HR functions have been automated or outsourced in the last two years. She wants HR to bring more value to the business and asks Thomas to transform the HR department. She asks Thomas to begin by working with the sales department. After the meeting, Thomas decides to develop a highly skilled team of strategic partners (SPs) who will build strategic business partner relationships with the company’s business leaders. He realizes he will have to coach this new team to success and begins by instructing them on the first steps in building a strategic relationship.
One of Thomas’s new SPs, Karen Johnson, catches on quickly and is selected as the first person to practice the techniques she has learned by building a partnership with the sales department. Her ultimate goal is to consult with sales leaders to uncover ways she can help them increase sales revenue. Eager to begin, Karen sets up a meeting with a high-performing sales operations manager, Jacob Reynolds, who was referred to her by a friend in sales. She begins by asking questions about the business goals of the department, but he isn’t able to articulate what those are. His discussion is mostly tactical in nature.
Karen quickly realizes that she has made a major mistake. She has not identified the true client, someone who can articulate the department’s business goals and with whom she can build a long-term partnership. She consults with Thomas, who quickly identifies Wendy Harris, the VP of sales, as her true client. Thomas talks with Wendy about Karen’s role and the HR department’s new focus, and arranges a meeting between Karen and Wendy.
Question 1: What are Karen’s challenges and how can she be most successful?
Karen’s biggest challenges as an SP are to “translate business into performance & workplace requirements, communicate the business plan...