I recently led a session on Strategic HR in Washington, DC, for the Keller/Ogilvy Senior HR Roundtable, an exclusive group of senior HR professionals put together by Keller Benefit Services  and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide . The event was sponsored by the HR Certification Institute  and The McCormick Group , a highly esteemed executive search firm.
The session began by summarizing results of recent interviews I conducted with HR senior vice presidents of well-known organizations in the DC metro area, and the recent webinar  I conducted for HRCI engaging HR professionals who hold HRCI certification and work for Fast Company's Top 50 Most Innovative Companies .
Then we moved into workgroups and took on some tough questions facing senior HR professionals today:
• How does strategic HR drive competitive excellence?
• What skills does HR need to develop to contribute in the C-suite?
• How is talent acquired to build the future, to achieve the organization's strategic objectives?
Here are some of the highlights from the conversation at the Keller/Ogilvy Roundtable:
• HR is in a unique position to drive competitive excellence if it is fully aligned with business goals. It has the capacity to proactively recruit, bringing in tomorrow's leaders and identify candidates who can fulfill strategic objectives.
• To be considered a player in the C-suite senior HR professionals have to be well versed in business drivers including financials, industry, market circumstances, and competitive intelligence. HR metrics should be tied to the core tasks of the organization.
• Talent development, retention, and acquisition are now at a premium, especially as the time cycles of change collapse into shorter duration. HR is in direct contact with every staff member, front line to the CEO. As a result, organizational capacity building is a direct and powerful contribution HR can make if it is fully aligned with the future direction of the enterprise.
• The world is making the transition from hierarchical leadership, where seniority is the rule of advancement, to self-organizing collaboration with value generation determining leaders and promotions. HR is in a position to support or drive this shift, while simultaneously seeking solutions to the resulting issues of continuity and institutional intelligence.
Seth Kahan (Seth@VisionaryLeadership.com ) is a Change Leadership specialist. He has consulted with CEOs and executives in over 50 world-class organizations that include Shell, World Bank, Peace Corps, Marriott, Prudential, American Society of Association Executives, International Bridge Tunnel and Turnpike Association, Project Management Institute, and NASA. He is the founder of Seth Kahan's CEO Leaders Forum, a year-long learning experience for CEOs in Washington, DC. His book, Getting Change Right: How Leaders Transform Organizations from the Inside Out, is a Washington Post bestseller. Visit GettingChangeRight.com  for more info and a free excerpt. Follow Seth on Twitter . Learn more about Seth's work at VisionaryLeadership.com .