How To Clarify Expectations in Successful High Potential Programs

High-potential (HiPo) development is a critical talent management priority for many organizations, and doing it well is a practice of high-performance organizations. However, a review of outcomes reveals that organizations are not getting a good return on their efforts to transform high potential into high performance. Research suggests up to two-thirds of HiPo programs are failing to deliver value for individuals and organizations!

In this 3-part blog series, we’ll explore the ins and outs of developing a successful high-potential program. In our first post, we explored how to identify and assess high-potential leaders. Today we’ll cover a few challenges associated with leadership transitions and the need to clarify expectations with high potential leaders.

HiPo For What?

HiPo programs facilitate the transition of leaders into roles of greater scope and complexity. The table below synthesizes research on the learning priorities associated with transitioning into first-, mid-, and senior-level roles.

Each leadership transition is associated with specific learning challenges. While these data provide general guidance, it is important to clarify the challenges HiPos will face and will be expected to manage in a given organization.

As we illustrated earlier, most organizations are focused on customer-centric innovation and operational efficiency but with differing levels of emphasis. Each of these three strategic focal points have different implications for leadership generally and HiPo development in particular. In these times of disruptive change, the best HiPo programs evaluate leaders for their potential to learn how to meet tomorrow’s challenges and equip them with the capabilities that transform potential into performance.

The typical 9 Box Process companies use tends to reflect how roles are understood today. They do not often begin by answering the question: “What capabilities will future leaders need to meet tomorrow’s challenges?”

According to many commentators, the ability to manage people across geographies and cultures, digital fluency, and strategic agility will be more important in the future. A simple outline for making the 9 Box future focused is illustrated below:

For further reading on HiPo development, download our free white paper or keep an eye out for the final part of our HiPo series.

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