An Ode to the True Business Partner

It’s not an easy job

Powerful clients who solutioneer

Use their fast thinking and positional power

To get something done

We are expected to deliver

HR and L&D solutions

To cope with the line managers abdication of their responsibilities

For coaching, supporting, leading training and managing their staff through performance issues

The key attribute of a successful HR Business Partner is the ability to stand up to such innocent manipulation and solutioneering

To keep a clear head

To build trust and rapport

To stay in an Adult frame of mind whilst we ask:

“Who is involved in this problem?”

“What are they doing now?”

“What do we want them to do?”

To repeat the client’s words

Probe when they give us generalisations

“Many”  How many?, “A lot” how much?

To do keep the trust and rapport whilst we ask challenging questions

To identify the real issues and key people involved

To construct sensible, creative, elegant solutions to close the performance gap

And leave with the client as your friend

Perceiving you as a trusted advisor

When you can do all this, my friend, you will be a true Business Partner

Nigel Harrison is the author of “How to be a True Business Partner by Performance Consulting available from the bookshop at