3 Important Considerations for Handling High Potential Talent
So there are a few common failure paths that I see that organizations take when they are creating their high potential strategy. The first is around defining the high potential pool incorrectly. Either they define it too large because of political reasons, everyone is considered a high potential when you’re nominated by that senior leader, or because they don’t want to tell the individual that they actually are a high potential so they just invite a larger group. So it can be too big… or too small. That they just focus on top of the house critical positions and don’t build the leadership pipeline throughout the organization.
That’s the first piece. The second piece is over-reliance on formal programs – and don’t get me wrong, those are great for bringing people together, doing some aggregate skill development, networking – but if you really want to accelerate your high potential talent you have to look at robust insight from assessment and coaching and stretch assignments and working with a mentor. Those are the things that really accelerate performance and learning quickly.
The third failure path that I see is not following the high potential through their lifecycle. So I hear from organizations all the time “I can’t believe Joe left, we invested so much in him!” and of course true high potentials really crave that stretch and those new exciting opportunities, and if they don’t get it with you then they will go elsewhere.