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5 Best Practices for Identifying Potential Leaders

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The decision to nominate individuals as “top talent” or “high potential” is no easy task. Unfortunately, these important decisions are often undermined by a lack of due diligence, vague criteria, and questionable accuracy. Use our complimentary guidebook to learn how to avoid the most common issues and challenges involved in the high-potential evaluation and nomination processes.

You’ll learn about the 5 best practices for making the right talent investments in your organization, and as a bonus, get key takeaways to help you start identifying your future leaders.

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5 Best Practices for Identifying Potential Leaders

  1. 1. 5 Best Practices for Identifying Potential Leaders How the right talent investments now create leaders for a successful tomorrow ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved.1
  2. 2. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 2 Effective succession management begins with identifying and developing a pool of high-potential leaders who are ready to step into critical leadership roles.
  3. 3. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 3 High potentials, also known as “top talent,” “high flyers,” or “acceleration pool members,” are believed to have the best chance to rapidly grow their capabilities and fill critical roles in the near future.
  4. 4. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 4 By most definitions, an acceleration pool of leaders represents a critical investment of time and resources.
  5. 5. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 5 Much like a personal decision to invest in a stock or mutual fund, the process for identifying high potentials requires FOUR Absolutes.
  6. 6. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 6 4 Absolutes for Identifying Your Potential Leaders 1. Due Diligence 2. Clear Criteria 3. Accurate Data 4. Careful Decision-Making
  7. 7. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. About HiPo programs… 7 5/6HR professionals are dissatisfied with their HiPo programs (CEB, 2014)
  8. 8. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 8 Here are 5 Best Practices for making the right talent investments in your organization: 1. Don’t shortchange high-potential nominations. 2. Define potentially consistently. 3. Ensure your pool includes diverse skill sets and mindsets. 4. Separate potential from performance from readiness. 5. Equip managers to become talent scouts.
  9. 9. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 9 #1 Don’t Shortchange High-Potential Nominations
  10. 10. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 10 The evaluation and nomination of high potentials is often embedded as a component of a larger talent review process at top levels of the organization, and doesn’t always get the proper emphasis.
  11. 11. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 11 Nearly half of organizations shortchange their efforts by focusing only on high-potential talent at the senior-most levels. Organizations that opt to extend development of high-potential talent into lower levels of the organization are 4.2 times more likely to financially outperform those that don’t. Source: DDI, The Conference Board, & EY. Global Leadership Forecast 2018.
  12. 12. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 12 Create focus and rigor by: • Using objective assessments to identify potential. • Giving managers clear direction for evaluating and nominating high potentials. • Taking a full-pipeline approach to build a strong pool of leaders from frontline to executive.
  13. 13. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 13 Use the right tools by level: • At lower levels, use scalable online assessments that can identify people who have the skills, motivations, and personality to lead. • For mid- and senior-level leaders, gain deeper insights through day-in-the life simulations and by obtaining feedback through 360° tools.
  14. 14. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 14 #2 Define Potential Consistently
  15. 15. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 15 Replace loose, intuitive definitions of potential with standard, research- based factors that are predictive of future potential.
  16. 16. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 16 DDI’s research has identified 10 high-potential factors: • Propensity to Lead • Brings Out the Best in Others • Authenticity • Receptivity to Feedback • Learning Agility • Culture Fit • Passion for Results • Adaptability • Conceptual Thinking • Navigates Ambiguity
  17. 17. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 17 Nomination must first confirm a solid track record of past performance, but these 10 factors are the real differentiators for potential in accelerated development.
  18. 18. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 18 Taken as a whole, they address motivations, learning orientation, and propensity to lead with the increasingly ambiguous, complex, and dynamic nature of strategic roles. Motivation + Learning Orientation
  19. 19. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 19 #3 Ensure Your Pool Includes Diverse Skillsets and Mindsets
  20. 20. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 20 In many organizations, identifying leadership potential starts with looking for people who are most similar to the organization’s current leaders.
  21. 21. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 21 But because of the rapidly changing business environment, the types of leaders you need in the future may be very different than the leaders you have today. A strong high-potential pool should include people with a broad range of skillsets and mindsets.
  22. 22. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 22 The goal is to create a pool of people who represent a broad range of skills and perspectives to quickly step into leadership roles to help the organization innovate and adapt to rapidly shifting business challenges.
  23. 23. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 23 #4 Separate Potential from Performance from Readiness
  24. 24. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 24 These three concepts – performance, potential, and readiness – are often confused.
  25. 25. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 25 Potential = The likelihood that an individual can develop into a successful leader with significantly expanded, higher-level leadership responsibilities. Performance = An individual’s level of success in executing objectives in one’s current (or past) roles. Includes demonstration of required competencies. Readiness = The degree to which an individual’s competencies, experiences, knowledge, and personal attributes meet the requirements for a role or job family.
  26. 26. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 26 Past performance is a predictor of future performance, but only when the challenges and roles remain consistent.
  27. 27. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 27 Since significantly new and different challenges lie ahead for high potentials, it is critical to differentiate and evaluate potential and readiness.
  28. 28. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 28 #5 Equip Managers to Become Talent Scouts
  29. 29. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 29 Engage leaders and managers from the start. Communication is vital to attain buy-in, set expectations, and establish processes, roles, accountabilities, and metrics.
  30. 30. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 30 Managers, as guardians of the enterprise’s talent, can serve as “talent scouts” at other times during the year.
  31. 31. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 31 Talent Scout workshops for managers can help build a shared understanding of potential, address biases, and confirm accountabilities.
  32. 32. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 32 Sometimes, this means uncovering hidden talent that wouldn’t otherwise be discovered by only thinking of potential once a year.
  33. 33. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 33 In Review
  34. 34. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 34 Making the right talent investments in your organization Best Practices • Don’t shortchange high-potential nominations. • Define potential consistently. • Include diverse skill sets and mindsets. • Separate potential from performance from readiness. • Equip managers to become talent scouts.
  35. 35. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 35 TAKEAWAY #1 The high-potential identification process is vital to filling an organization’s leadership pipeline.
  36. 36. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 36 TAKEAWAY #2 Beyond routine promotion and development, this nomination process represents an investment decision, just like an investment in product development, or any other business opportunity.
  37. 37. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 37 TAKEAWAY #3 Time, budget dollars, and energy need to be invested in assessing, developing, coaching, awarding assignments, and retaining high potentials.
  38. 38. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. 38 TAKEAWAY #4 Ensuring that you perform due diligence to accurately and objectively identify a diverse pool of high- potential leaders will determine the return on the high-potential investment.
  39. 39. ©Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2018. All rights reserved. Succession experts are standing by at 800.933.4463 or info@ddiworld.com to help guide your initiatives. 39 Ready to identify your potential future leaders?

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