Post Chronology

July 2024

InFullBloom Archives


Speaking Engagements

Predict and Prepare sponsored by Workday 12/16

The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #171, 2/15
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #160, 8/14
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #145, 1/14
Workday Predict and Prepare Webinar, 12/10/2013
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #134, 8/13
CXOTalk: Naomi Bloom, Nenshad Bardoliwalla, and Michael Krigsman, 3/15/2013
Drive Thru HR, 12/17/12
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #110, 8/12
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Business Value," 5/3/12 Audio/Whitepaper
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Predict and Prepare," 12/7/11
HR Happy Hour - Episode 118 - 'Work and the Future of Work', 9/23/11
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #87, 9/11
Keynote, Connections Ultimate Partner Forum, 3/9-12/11
"Convergence in Bloom" Webcast and accompanying white paper, sponsored by ADP, 9/21/10
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #63, 9/10
Keynote for Workforce Management's first ever virtual HR technology conference, 6/8/10
Knowledge Infusion Webinar, 6/3/10
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Predict and Prepare," 12/8/09
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Preparing to Lead the Recovery," 11/19/09 Audio/Powerpoint
"Enterprise unplugged: Riffing on failure and performance," a Michael Krigsman podcast 11/9/09
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #39, 10/09
Workday SOR Webinar, 8/25/09
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #15, 10/08

Keynote, HR Tech Europe, Amsterdam, 10/25-26/12
Master Panel, HR Technology, Chicago, 10/9/012
Keynote, Workforce Magazine HR Tech Week, 6/6/12
Webcast Sponsored by Workday: "Building a Solid Business Case for HR Technology Change," 5/31/12
Keynote, Saba Global Summit, Miami, 3/19-22/12
Workday Rising, Las Vegas, 10/24-27/11
HR Technology, Las Vegas 10/3-5/11
HR Florida, Orlando 8/29-31/11
Boussias Communications HR Effectiveness Forum, Athens, Greece 6/16-17/11
HR Demo Show, Las Vegas 5/24-26/11
Workday Rising, 10/11/10
HRO Summit, 10/22/09
HR Technology, Keynote and Panel, 10/2/09

Adventures of Bloom & Wallace

a work in progress

Are You The Very Model Of A Modern HR Leader?

Are You The Very Model Of A Modern HR Leader?

I have always loved “The Pirates of Penzance,” and especially the monologue-like song of the modern Major General.  Every time I think about the KSAOC profile for a position or job, about the KSAOCs of someone with whom I’m working or interviewing, or even about the KSAOCs I do or don’t possess, I’m reminded of just how much you need to know and be able to do to meet the spec in this song for the job of Major General — and then I laugh my head off yet again.

But the KSAOC profile for a modern Major General has nothing on the same for a modern HR leader.  And that’s a topic on which I’ve been working quite a bit lately because it keeps coming up.  Just as there’s a generational shift occurring in other C-suite positions, it’s happening with increasing frequency in HR.  And what we need from HR leaders for today and tomorrow is VERY different from what worked yesterday.  So, without further ado, here’s my “starter kit” KSAOC profile for a modern HR leader:

  • Excellent, fast and compelling writing;
  • Excellent, fluent and compelling speaking;
  • Commitment to lifelong learning;
  • Attention to details and ability to see, create and communicate the big picture;
  • Quick thinking, then speaking, on your feet;
  • Command presence and leadership persona;
  • Current, global perspective on business and geopolitics;
  • Current knowledge of your industry, organization, and cultural environment;
  • Foundation in the liberal arts for geopolitical context, critical thinking, hypothesis formulation and testing, and more;
  • Foundation in business for the basics of finance, accounting, commercial law, production management, sales, marketing, information technology, vendor management, and more;
  • Foundation in STEM for statistics, data analysis, and the “scientific method” and more;
  • Foundation in HRM and appreciation of its breadth, complexity, geographical variations, regulatory overlay, and strategic interconnections;
  • Considerable mathematical literacy, including visualization, classification, generalization, abstraction, enumeration and more;
  • Strategic planning expertise — for your organization, for HRM, for the HR function, and for the HRM delivery system;
  • Considerable knowledge of technology-enabled HRM and the HRMDS, to include how the latest developments in mobile, social, analytics and true SaaS are changing the fundamentals of HR technology decisions and providing transformation opportunities for HRM;
  • Project management — nearly everything you will do is a project;
  • Personal and organizational brand management — and that includes reasonable fluency with the social tools of brand management; and
  • Well-developed emotional intelligence and political astuteness.

The good news is that I’ve met a few young HR professionals, moving quickly into or already in leadership roles, who are well on their way to achieving this KSAOC profile.  The bad news is that they are few and far between.  But what’s really interesting about this profile is that, with judicious changes to reflect the subject matter of marketing or finance or sales or IT, it could be the profile of a modern leader of any business discipline.  So if that’s your ambition, there’s likely to be some areas in which you’ll need to double down on your life-long learning efforts.

13 comments to Are You The Very Model Of A Modern HR Leader?

  • […] – Are You The Very Model Of A Modern HR Leader?, from Naomi Bloom, In full Bloom […]

  • […] Bloom shares with us the model of a modern HR leader. Do you fit the […]

  • Naomi – great post. I agree the bar for a senior HR leader is rising, fast.
    The capabilities and experiences you detail above are not likely to come from traditional HR higher education, development programs, or professional HR associations, IMO.
    In fact, to source HR leaders like this many will have to come from outside of the function.

    For me the CHRO of the future needs to be confused for the CFO, COO, CMO and CIO.

    CFO – they should know the financials of the business, including performance that week, on demand. They should understand exactly how the business is driven and viewed/rewarded by investors. Deep financial fluency.

    COO – your focus on project management is right, but even larger should be a holistic focus on program and system/process management. Must make HR operations consistent, high quality, low cost and reliable.

    CMO – must market the EVP to potential and current employees. Must convey and get alignment with the business strategy. Must use the skills of promotion and communications to drive org changes.

    CIO – HR is becoming a huge buyer of technology. CHRO’s must be able to see enterprise software sales BS and get clear on what problem they are solving and how state of the market technology could solve this. They must get their hands dirty and not take “no” from IT anymore.

  • […] must begin with the business outcomes that are their purpose.  Here too I’ve written a ton, with this particular post  (and do follow the links at the end for a tour of the “Yellow Brick Road” to achieving those […]

  • Naomi,

    I have a piece in HR Exec coming out in September titled: Disassembling HR. I’m very tired of what is HR’s role?, so this is my rant. You might find it amusing. Hopefully it will start a conversation.


  • Naomi: love this list! I’m a big fan of a liberal arts education — especially for those going into an HR career.

    • Naomi Bloom

      China, I’m honored to have you as a reader of my blog and so appreciate this feedback. There are some terrific HR leaders, but I continue to think that we don’t have enough of the terrific ones and, dare I say it, far too many in HR still focused on the rules and regulations rather than on achieving business results. I applaud what you’re doing personally to lead the charge among the HR community for greater strategic engagement and more attention to the role that technology plays.

  • The business world as a whole is growing very rapidly and many techniques that were once used might not be relevant any longer. The process of employee growth and knowledge is different than it once was and a proper HR leader can look at a situation wearing many different hats.

  • Naomi – This is a fantastic list and I may follow Trish’s lead and borrow some of the language for a new HR role we may be opening. The world has evolved dramatically and HR needs to keep pace.

  • Trish McFarlane

    Naomi, I love this and want to incorporate this into a job opening I have for a senior HR leader. Great insight. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply