Lots of people like the convenience, selection and efficiency of buying things from Amazon.  You know Amazon, the Seattle based company not the rainforest near the equator filled with snakes and bugs. Tribal Human Resources is in the business of customer service and upon examination, the principles of leadership, if applied, embraced and practiced will assist Human Resources in delivering the best customer service.  Here are those principles with color commentary.

Customer Obsession

Leaders start with the customer and work backwards.  They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust.  Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.

Tribal employers are more efficient and provide better customer service when leadership focuses on the customers.  The ultimate customer is the Tribe and its members.  When Human Resources commits to serving its customers (tribal leadership, employees and candidates for employment) those customers better serve the Tribe and its members.  A healthy obsession with serving customers delivers.


Leaders are owners.  They think long term and do not sacrifice long-term value for short-term results.  They act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their team.  They never say “that’s not my job.”

The “other duties as assigned” phrase incorporated into job descriptions is the open door to take ownership over those things which will enhance the services provided by Human Resources to its customers.  By coupling the opportunity to do whatever it takes attitude with a service perspective, Human Resources serves best.

Invent & Simplify

Leaders expect and require innovation and invention from their teams and always find ways to simplify.  They are externally aware, look for new ideas from everywhere, and are not limited by “not invented here.”  As we do new things, we accept that we may be misunderstood for long periods of time.

Part of the value NNAHRA brings to Tribal Human Resources is the opportunity to compare practices with other tribes and borrow those ideas which will enhance our practices at home.

Are Right A Lot

Leaders are right a lot.  They have strong judgment and good instincts.  They seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs.

“Disconfirm” is an interesting word choice here.  It means to “show that a belief is not or may not be true.”  How many assumptions do you possess wherein you are convinced that the assumption is true but you question whether your comfortable assumption is, in fact, true.

Learn and Be Curious

Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve themselves.  They are curious about new possibilities and act to explore them.

Curiosity is the engine which generates opportunities to innovate and enhance the good practices we use and make them better.

Hire and Develop the Best

Leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion.  And They recognize exceptional talent, and willingly move them throughout the organization. Leaders develop leaders and take seriously their role and coaching others. We work on behalf of our people to invent mechanisms for development like career choice.

Tribes have a true opportunity to leverage the talent within the Tribe, and if needed, seek that talent elsewhere.  But hiring someone is just the start since training, coaching, mentorship leads to employee development.  Developed employees better serve the mission.

Insist on the Highest Standards

Leaders have relentlessly high standards-many people may think the standards are unreasonably high. Leaders are continuously raising the bar and driving their teams to deliver high-quality products, services and processes. Leaders ensure that defects do not get sent down the line and the problems are fixed so they stay fixed.

Your reach should exceed your grasp is a way to achieve more and having high expectations, while at the same time possessing the teacher’s mentality of sharing your vision with your colleagues strikes the right balance.

Think Big

Thinking small is a self fulfilling prophecy. Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers.

What proactive goals will Human Resources accomplish in 2017 to move the quality needle in the right direction?

Bias for Action

Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking.

Too much debate on ideas renders us stagnant.  Possession of all the facts is a luxury that is hard to find so therefore make decisions based on reasonable due diligence and get along with it.


Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency and invention. There are no extra points for growing headcount, budget size for fixed expense.

Doing more with the budget you have will generate the sparks of creativity.

Earn Trust

Leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others respectfully. They are vocally self-critical, even when doing so was awkward or embarrassing. Leaders do not believe their or their teams body order smells of perfume. They’ve benchmark themselves and their teams against The best.

Human Resources understands these ideas but insisting that all the team members embrace these ideas is the goal which must be realized.

Dive Deep

Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, audit frequently, and are skeptical when metrics and anecdote differ. No task is beneath them.

Do what you need to do to best serve the customers of Human Resources.

Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit

Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once the decision is determined, they commit wholly.

Speaking truth to power (and to colleagues) is in the Human Resources job description.

Deliver Results

Leaders focus on the key inputs for their business and deliver them with the right quality and in a timely fashion. Despite setbacks, they rise to the occasion and never settle.

In Human Resources what are the results you seek?  How do you measure your performance?  What grade did you earn in 2016 and how will that grade be enhanced in 2017?