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Interview: Navid Nazemian, Global Head of HR

Navid is an Executive Coach and an expert in leadership transitions. He has 20 years of HR experience in some of the world’s most admired organisations… View Article


Interview: Navid Nazemian, Global Head of HR

Navid is an Executive Coach and an expert in leadership transitions. He has 20 years of HR experience in some of the world’s most admired organisations and will join TRB at the Retail HR Event in September as a headline speaker. We talk to Navid ahead of the event to find out more.

Can you tell us about how you got into HR and Coaching?

I started my career 26 years ago.  I spent the first 6 years in B2B sales, and I was good at it so naturally, I enjoyed it. Then, in 2002 I experienced just how valuable the HR function could be in an organisation and that piqued my interest.  I joined Adidas for what was my first role in HR and twenty years later I am still working in HR and as happy as can be.

I joined Vodafone in 2014 and am now the Global Head of HR for the Finance group. I also work as a coach to help executives and their leadership teams to accelerate and successfully transition into new roles.

Is the HR role now been called People Management?

You could claim what used to be ‘Personnel Management’ morphed into ‘Human Resources’ and now the trend is for organisations to call it ‘People Management’. More importantly, there is a quote by Dave Ulrich that says, “Value is defined by the receiver more than the giver”. What that means is that it does not really matter what we call HR, ultimately what matters is how the employees and stakeholders are perceiving our value to be.

Tell us about your book “Mastering Executive Transitions – the definitive guide”?

When I was going through transitions in my career, I wasted so much time with trial and error, and that is true for many of us. We all have talents and experiences that we want to share with the world, we want to have a bigger impact, but getting there, is often quite a process, and we often feel like we must figure it out on our own. Quite often we are open to learning from others, but just are not sure who to turn to or where to start.  I often felt this way.

About a decade ago, I started focussing on supporting leaders that were going through transitions and that is what led me to the book. It was a long journey. I never imagined that it would take me seven years to write – I thought it would be a year-long project but in those 7 years I performed in 3 different jobs, in 2 different companies and industries in 3 different countries. A year shortly after starting the book, our son was born  and so life just happened, and this is the reality for most of us.

They say, ‘the best views come after the hardest climb’ and I feel very blessed that the book has gone on to become an international best seller on Amazon. The title is the number #1 new release in 4 different countries – and so it really speaks to my mission – which is to bend executives transitions away from pure luck and failure and towards masterful and successfully crafted plans. The book is my life’s work, supporting leaders to sometimes grow beyond what they may have imagined possible.

Who is the target audience for your book?

The book is suitable for 3 different audiences. Firstly, the executive who are in the midst of  transitioning. Next, the HR leader, who will play a big role when it comes to the onboarding and the transitioning process of the exec. Thirdly, the book will speak to people like myself who have a specialisation in the transition and onboarding space but are missing an appropriate framework or some datapoints with solid research to put behind what it is that they do.

What next?

I have two more products in the making: an audio version of the book and a hard cover edition. With that I will have 4 different products that are speaking to different audiences. I would also love to do an e-learning course based on the findings of the book.

What can we expect at the upcoming TRB HR event?

My topic is “how can HR leaders adapt for future success?”. I will be speaking about the most common executive challenges. What many may not realise is that there is a 40% failure rate at the executive level during the first 18 months when transitioning, so 4 out of 10.

I will explore the cost of failure. A study by Russel Reynolds Associates, one of the largest head-hunters in the world, found that of the total cost of hiring at the exec level, 90% of the total budget is spent on the cost of hiring, and less than 10% is spent on making that same hire successful once onboarded. I will speak about the imbalance of this investment and offer some thoughts around making sure that person is a successful hire.

(Depending on time) I will share a few proven interventions that work in practice. I have developed a framework which looks at what it really takes to transition at that level and what are the helpful phases that can be followed, I will share some of that.

Find out more about the upcoming HR event and to book your space now.

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