My brilliant career – Sean Edwards, national manager – people, culture & legal at Nissan Motor Company

by 21 Jul 2009

My current role is ... National Manager – People, Culture & Legal at Nissan Motor Company (Australia) Pty Ltd. My key accountabilities include the management of the Human Resources and the Legal de partments.

My qualifications are ... Master of Workplace & Employment Law from Monash University and Master of Business in Human Resource Management from Swinburne University.

I got into HR because ... Human Resources was a function that pro vided me with an opportunity to apply my business knowledge and skills cross-functionally (“Wide and Deep”). The constant need for Human Resources to develop and implement true business break through programs with the purpose to drive business profitability, rev enue, productivity and efficiency levels was a challenge that I con stantly sought.

My biggest career high was when ... I was given the responsibility to broaden my management accountabilities to include the Human Resource and Legal function at Nissan.

To succeed in HR it takes ... A lot of perseverance and determina tion to influence and change people, processes and systems through all levels of the business without losing sight of the organisation’s ob jectives. HR must ensure that all its initiatives and/or projects have a direct and positive impact on the business’s profitability, revenue, productivity and efficiency levels while maintaining a strong em ployee value proposition. Otherwise HR as a function has no value.

Living person I most admire is ... Not so much an HR practitioner or a business identity – I am inspired by a number of professional ath letes across numerous sports. Their discipline, self-sacrifice and de termination to achieve are all inspiring.

The thing I dislike most about myself ... Is that I am my own worst critic and sometimes place unrealistic expectations and standards on myself. The upside to this dislike is that it drives my passion for continuous improvement and self development.

The thing I dislike most in others ... Is the need to drive personal agendas to the detriment of their team and/or the business.

The best advice I ever got was ... Difficult to say. Everyone has an opinion and is willing to give that opinion. I guess I have taken bits of advice from different sources and applied them to my life. This practice has not yet failed me.

I'm happiest when I'm … In an organisation that is seeking to drive change to achieve aggressive business objectives in an environment that has not yet experienced or gained an understanding of a high performance workplace culture. I thrive in an environment that de mands you to be one step ahead of the game.

The hardest thing I've ever done was ... Work in my current role at Nissan while finalising my Masters and organising a wedding all at the same time.

My greatest extravagance is ... It is difficult to narrow it down to a specific example, I have too many.

My favourite book is ... Anything that has been reproduced into a movie format.

My motto is … Never say die…