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Strategic CHRO: Amy Cappellanti-Wolf on Being the Office of “How,”​ not “No.”​

Source || By|Adam Bryant

For the next installment of our interview series with leaders who are transforming the role of the chief human resources officer, David Reimer, the CEO of Merryck & Co. Americas, and I sat down recently with Amy Cappellanti-Wolf of Symantec. She shared smart smart insights with us about why CHROs should embrace the “commercial” label. Stay tuned for more interviews with other HR leaders.

Reimer: What does the phrase strategic CHRO mean to you?

Cappellanti-Wolf: Let’s start with what I don’t think it is. You’re not up in the clouds, working on ethereal things. You have to be very aware of what’s happening in the business and be able to translate the business imperatives to what it means for HR and then create a plan to implement and operationalize them. Good, strategic HR is very business-minded, but it also has a results orientation to it, so you can really measure both business and people outcomes.

Reimer: Sometimes there’s a learning curve for the CEO about what they can expect from a CHRO who plays at that level. What has been your experience?

Cappellanti-Wolf: I worked in consumer products, at Frito-Lay and Disney, before moving into technology in 2000. Those companies were very leadership-driven and focused on developing change-management capabilities. When I first came to tech, I met a lot of brilliant leaders in terms of technology, but they were not particularly experienced in how to lead through change, how to motivate, how to inspire, and how to build a leadership bench.

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