Summarise the strengths and weaknesses of the company as a whole.
One of the most important things for you to have as an HR professional is a comprehensive understanding of all the elements that make up your organisation. For small to medium-sized companies, this is likely to be relatively straightforward, but if you work for a large company, a public sector organisation or a charity, it may include lots of subdivisions that aren't necessarily priorities in your day-to-day work.
But while knowing this is essential, it will mean very little unless you combine that knowledge with an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each element of the organisation and how the different parts interact with, and influence, each other. Even within companies that run their different products and brands quite separately, there will be overall decisions and policies, and usually an over-arching employee brand, that will unify the business. You can use this understanding for benchmarking the comparative strengths and weaknesses.
This will help you in two ways. Using this knowledge will help you do your job better by implementing procedures across departments setting a standard of best practice throughout the organisation and by networking to develop better relationships with your clients and by. It will also help you to consider how these strengths and weaknesses influence the HR policies and initiatives that will maintain the strengths, and help eliminate the weaknesses.
It will also help you understand how to position things. For example, if you wanted to persuade a manager to do something that another part of the company has done, is that part of the company viewed favourably by your managers, and therefore a good reference point, or is it something you should avoid mentioning at all costs?
From there, you can go on to consider how those strengths and weaknesses affect the success or otherwise of your part of the business. Are you in a part of the business that has some challenges? If so, does that image risk rubbing off on other initiatives you are running? This can affect the key decision-maker's perception of your ability. Understanding this will put you in a far better position to challenge it.