Every business needs to sustain its competitive advantage to survive. For some, it’s designing a superior product. For others, it’s the ability to manage costs or provide superior service. Or maybe it’s all three.
But, what if your competitive advantage is your people?
For many small businesses, especially technology businesses, that’s the case.
Years ago, I was lunching with my boss and mentor. I was looking for career advice. “What should my next move be?” I asked. Clearly unprepared for the question and needing to buy some time, he joked, “There’s an opening for an SVP of HR…”
I knew it was a joke right off. I was a corporate VP of the largest bank in America. I was on the “fast track” as it was called. I had great success and could spout the metrics to prove it. I was King Friggin’ Kong. No way was a job in the backwater of HR going to be my Empire State Building. Hah!
“Have I done something wrong?” I asked in my drollest possible tone of voice. We both had a good laugh and moved on.
A decade later, then in the world of small business, I came to look upon HR as the folks who would keep you out of jail, so to speak — teach us how to avoid lawsuits, work with the company’s lawyers when they inevitably came.