"Now, I admit I have an old world view of leadership, but I believe that the CEO is responsible for everything that happens on his or her watch. To be sure, they reap the accolades when times are good, so they should be held accountable when things go wrong. And, I would say that a 96% failure rate for their HR function would rise to the definition of something going wrong, seriously wrong on their watch. To put it another way, I'd like to see a survey of those business CEOs and other executives who are willing to put their money where their opinions are. Instead of griping about HR and then investing a measly 0.9% of total operating costs-the U.S. norm for the last ten years-I'd like to see how many would sign up to invest 5%, 6% or more of their operating costs to fix their gripe. Frankly, I'm tired of CEOs' vapor capital approach to HR; all they invest is hot air. If they want a world class HR function, they're going to have to pay for it."
I think this is an extremely valid point. As much as HR organizations need to change their focus to be strategic contributors, C-level executives can be equally at fault. If C-level executives do not make the proper investments in a strategic HR capability, it will not emerge. It is that simple. However, HR can do its part to get the investment they need to be a strategic contributor.
See my post from earlier today. There is a lot senior HR leadership can do in a 100 days to start to convince C-level executives to make the investments. Do not be afraid to start small. Pick one particularly thorny business problem that is plaguing the C-level set and show them how you can help solve it in that first 100 days. Then, do it again and again. You get the picture. Once the track record for delivering business value exists, the investments will surely follow.