The Future of Staff Groups

Daring to Distribute Power and Capacity

Joel Henning (Author)

Publication date: 09/01/1997

The Future of Staff Groups
  • Teaches staff groups-groups within organizations that perform internal functions such as human resources, finance, legal, quality, information systems, and others-how to shed old patterns and roles and speak directly to the concerns of their clients, their managers, and the groups themselves
  • Tells stories that document the struggle to change staff groups both on a personal and an organizational level
  • Provides a viable alternative to eliminating or outsourcing corporate staff functions

Looked down on as functionaries by senior management and dismissed as roadblocks by their line group colleagues, corporate staff members have traditionally had only one surety--as overhead-identified costs, theirs are sure to be the first positions eliminated in any kind of crunch. Corporate staff have been the neglected resource in the overall corporate arsenal and Joel Henning makes a powerful argument that current market realities require that they can no longer be ignored.

The Future of Staff Groups takes the unusual tack of recognizing staff groups as the overlooked power brokers in corporations. It is an illuminating book about corporate staff groups within organizations--those that perform internal functions such as information systems departments, finance departments, human resource departments, quality departments, and so on--and the impact that they can have on the prosperity and success of the organizations they serve.

Competitive advantage in any of today's markets presumes competence. To go beyond competence to dominate a market, a company needs to know more, create more, learn faster, and communicate better than the competition. This is the work that corporate staff groups were born for -- not 'just to do', but to build within others the 'capability to do'--what Henning calls 'building capacity.'

Information systems groups retrieve, manipulate, format and distribute the information that drives the organization. The finance department identifies and processes the issues and resources upon which critical business decisions are based. Human resources determines the shape of the organization and how it will function. Building their capacities, and communicating them to colleagues in line groups dramatically improves the ability of the entire organization to serve the marketplace.

For this positive potential to be realized, Henning explains how and why the staff groups themselves first need to shed their own old roles and the mindset of carrying someone else's water --their traditional tasks of aligning, watching, mandating and caretaking. The Future of Staff Groups confronts the past, faces current bottom-line demands, and describes roles for the future that can effectively reposition staff groups within their organizations.

This book challenges both executive management and the staff groups in all types of public and private sector organizations to re-invent their roles and their impact on function and on profitability. It confronts staff groups with the need to take the first step in changing the agenda and the relationship they have with their corporate clients and colleagues. It further provides clear-cut steps that staff groups can take to develop new expertise that will have a clear impact on the results of the business.

The Future of Staff Groups focuses squarely on the substance and content of staff groups' contribution to the organization. Henning offers executives, and staff and line managers a new and vital vision for developing staff groups in organizations--a direction focused on personal accountability for their survival, contribution, and place at the table. It's a relevant reference for anyone who sells professional expertise and cares about their impact.

  • Teaches staff groups-groups within organizations that perform internal functions such as human resources, finance, legal, quality, information systems, and others-how to shed old patterns and roles and speak directly to the concerns of their clients, their managers, and the groups themselves
  • Tells stories that document the struggle to change staff groups both on a personal and an organizational level
  • Provides a viable alternative to eliminating or outsourcing corporate staff functions

Read more and meet author below



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9781576750254

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Overview

  • Teaches staff groups-groups within organizations that perform internal functions such as human resources, finance, legal, quality, information systems, and others-how to shed old patterns and roles and speak directly to the concerns of their clients, their managers, and the groups themselves
  • Tells stories that document the struggle to change staff groups both on a personal and an organizational level
  • Provides a viable alternative to eliminating or outsourcing corporate staff functions

Looked down on as functionaries by senior management and dismissed as roadblocks by their line group colleagues, corporate staff members have traditionally had only one surety--as overhead-identified costs, theirs are sure to be the first positions eliminated in any kind of crunch. Corporate staff have been the neglected resource in the overall corporate arsenal and Joel Henning makes a powerful argument that current market realities require that they can no longer be ignored.

The Future of Staff Groups takes the unusual tack of recognizing staff groups as the overlooked power brokers in corporations. It is an illuminating book about corporate staff groups within organizations--those that perform internal functions such as information systems departments, finance departments, human resource departments, quality departments, and so on--and the impact that they can have on the prosperity and success of the organizations they serve.

Competitive advantage in any of today's markets presumes competence. To go beyond competence to dominate a market, a company needs to know more, create more, learn faster, and communicate better than the competition. This is the work that corporate staff groups were born for -- not 'just to do', but to build within others the 'capability to do'--what Henning calls 'building capacity.'

Information systems groups retrieve, manipulate, format and distribute the information that drives the organization. The finance department identifies and processes the issues and resources upon which critical business decisions are based. Human resources determines the shape of the organization and how it will function. Building their capacities, and communicating them to colleagues in line groups dramatically improves the ability of the entire organization to serve the marketplace.

For this positive potential to be realized, Henning explains how and why the staff groups themselves first need to shed their own old roles and the mindset of carrying someone else's water --their traditional tasks of aligning, watching, mandating and caretaking. The Future of Staff Groups confronts the past, faces current bottom-line demands, and describes roles for the future that can effectively reposition staff groups within their organizations.

This book challenges both executive management and the staff groups in all types of public and private sector organizations to re-invent their roles and their impact on function and on profitability. It confronts staff groups with the need to take the first step in changing the agenda and the relationship they have with their corporate clients and colleagues. It further provides clear-cut steps that staff groups can take to develop new expertise that will have a clear impact on the results of the business.

The Future of Staff Groups focuses squarely on the substance and content of staff groups' contribution to the organization. Henning offers executives, and staff and line managers a new and vital vision for developing staff groups in organizations--a direction focused on personal accountability for their survival, contribution, and place at the table. It's a relevant reference for anyone who sells professional expertise and cares about their impact.

  • Teaches staff groups-groups within organizations that perform internal functions such as human resources, finance, legal, quality, information systems, and others-how to shed old patterns and roles and speak directly to the concerns of their clients, their managers, and the groups themselves
  • Tells stories that document the struggle to change staff groups both on a personal and an organizational level
  • Provides a viable alternative to eliminating or outsourcing corporate staff functions

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Meet the Author


Visit Author Page - Joel Henning

Joel P. Henning is a partner in the consulting firm Designed Learning. For over 30 years, he has been consulting to school districts, large and small corporations, insurance and banking organizations, and manufacturing companies on long-term change efforts. Over the past five years, he has worked with staff groups--Human Resources, Finance, Quality or Information Systems--at Ford Motor Co. Levi-Strauss, Met Life, Knight Ridder, Johnson & Johnson, Chase Bank, Stanford University, and Sandia Labs. He is the author of The Future of Staff Groups.

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Table of Contents

Part I: Intention and Theory
1. The Jarring Reality
2. A Business at Risk
3. Making an Offer
4. A Promise and a Guarantee
5. Taking a Stance
6. Optimism, Hope, and Goodwill

Part II: Application-Translating Intention into Conversations
7. Introducing Relevance, Timeliness, and Fit
8. Discovering the Possibilities
9. Further Opportunities for Discovery
10. Deliberating Relevance, Timeliness, and Fit
11. The Core Technologies of Service
12. The Path of Commitment

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