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.

Published in: Business, Technology

5 Best Practices for Identifying Potential Leaders

  1. 1. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.1 5 Best Practices for Identifying Potential Leaders How the right talent investments now will contribute to your business’ future
  2. 2. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.22 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 strategic roles in the near future.
  3. 3. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.3 By most definitions, an acceleration pool of leaders represents a critical investment of time and resources.
  4. 4. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.4 Much like a personal decision to invest in a stock or mutual fund, the process for identifying high potentials requires FOUR Absolutes.
  5. 5. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.5 4 5 ABSOLUTES for Identifying your Potential Leaders Careful Decision-Making Accurate Data Due Diligence Clear Criteria
  6. 6. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.6 Here are 5 Best Practices for making the right talent investments in your organization: 1. Don’t shortchange high potential nominations 2. Narrow your pool before you start rating 3. Define potential consistently 4. Separate potential from performance from readiness 5. Involve managers in the process
  7. 7. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.7 Don’t Shortchange High Potential Nominations #1
  8. 8. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.8 Create focus and rigor by ensuring that the managers involved in the talent review have: #1 • Clear direction for evaluating and nominating high potentials • An accurate definition to guide discussion and decision making • Adequate rating instructions
  9. 9. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.9 The evaluation and nomination of high potentials is often embedded as a component of a larger talent review process, and doesn’t always get the proper emphasis. #1 Don’t Shortchange High Potential Nominations
  10. 10. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.10 Once leaders have been initially evaluated, engage managers in a more thorough evaluation and consensus-reaching to ensure you have the right quality and quantity of high-potential talent. #1 Don’t Shortchange High Potential Nominations
  11. 11. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.11 Narrow Your Pool Before You Start Rating #2
  12. 12. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.12 Focus first on prospective high-potential candidates. #2 Narrow Your Pool Before You Start Rating
  13. 13. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.13 Once you have the pool of candidates, employ needed criteria, tools, and consensus-building techniques for the required due diligence to make the best talent investment decisions. #2 Narrow Your Pool Before You Start Rating
  14. 14. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.14 Keeping the evaluation process zeroed in on high-potential designation will focus managers’ time and attention on those leaders eligible for this in-depth consideration. #2 Narrow Your Pool Before You Start Rating
  15. 15. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.15 Define Potential Consistently #3
  16. 16. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.16 #3 Define Potential Consistently Replace loose, intuitive definitions of potential with standard, research-based factors that are predictive of future potential.
  17. 17. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.17 #3 Define Potential Consistently 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
  18. 18. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.18 #3 Define Potential Consistently Nomination must first confirm a solid track record of past performance, but these 10 factors are the real differentiators for potential in accelerated development.
  19. 19. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.19 #3 Define Potential Consistently Taken as a whole, they address motivations, learning orientation, and propensity to deal with the increasingly ambiguous, complex, and dynamic nature of strategic roles.
  20. 20. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.20 Separate Potential from Performance from Readiness #4
  21. 21. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.21 #4 Separate Potential from Performance from Readiness These three concepts – performance, potential, and readiness – are often confused.
  22. 22. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.22 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. #4 Separate Potential from Performance from Readiness
  23. 23. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.23 #4 Separate Potential from Performance from Readiness Past performance is a predictor of future performance, but only when the challenges and roles remain consistent.
  24. 24. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.24 #4 Separate Potential from Performance from Readiness Since significantly new and different challenges lie ahead for high potentials, it is critical to differentiate and evaluate potential and readiness.
  25. 25. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.25 Involve Managers in the Process #5
  26. 26. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.26 #5 Involve Managers in the Process Engage leaders and managers from the start. Communication is vital to attain buy-in, set expectations, and establish processes, roles, accountabilities, and metrics.
  27. 27. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.27 #5 Involve Managers in the Process Managers, as guardians of the enterprise’s talent, can serve as “talent scouts” at other times during the year.
  28. 28. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.28 #5 Involve Managers in the Process By adopting the language and definitions into their observations and dialogue on a more ongoing basis, managers will be better equipped to spot potential more proactively.
  29. 29. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.29 #5 Involve Managers in the Process FYI—Sometimes, this means uncovering hidden talent that wouldn’t otherwise be discovered by only thinking of potential once a year.
  30. 30. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.30 LET’S RECAP!
  31. 31. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.3131 • Don’t shortchange high potential nominations • Narrow your pool before you start rating • Define potential consistently • Separate potential from performance from readiness • Involve managers in the process Making the right talent investments in your organization Best Practices
  32. 32. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.3232 © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIII. All rights reserved. 1 The high-potential identification process is vital to filling an organization’s leadership pipeline. TAKEAWAY
  33. 33. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.3333 © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIII. All rights reserved. Beyond routine promotion and development, this nomination process represents an investment decision, just like an investment in product development, or any other business opportunity. 2TAKEAWAY
  34. 34. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.3434 © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIII. All rights reserved. Time, budget dollars, and energy need to be invested in assessing, developing, coaching, awarding assignments, and retaining high potentials. 3TAKEAWAY
  35. 35. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.3535 © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIII. All rights reserved. The due diligence and response to common design and execution challenges will determine the return on the high-potential investment. 4TAKEAWAY
  36. 36. © Development Dimensions International, Inc., MMXIV. All rights reserved.36 Ready to identify your potential future leaders? Succession experts are standing by at 800.933.4463 or info@ddiworld.com to help guide your initiatives. MKTEDGB01-0717

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