High Potentials and your Leadership Bench Strength


You need a strong bench of leaders to ensure your organization continues to thrive. When you look around, you can see your workforce aging and the gap between the retiring boomers and the readiness of emerging leaders to step seamlessly into big roles. How do you ensure your organization is a magnet for high-potential leaders (HiPos) especially over your competitors?

To deliver you the best answers to the questions of how to develop, retain, and motivate high-potential leaders (HiPos), we took a fresh, thought-leadership research approach. First, we interviewed Chief Talent Officers or CTOs of global corporations. They explained to us how they identify HiPos and the issues they experience with their current HiPo programs. The articles about HiPo development were scoured to determine commonalities or what hit the list as world-class and best practice. Finally, we asked actual HiPos to weigh in on both developmental and motivational elements of HiPo programs.

So What Do HiPos Want?

To know what actually works for HiPos required us to ask them directly! HiPos are quite clear about what works and what doesn’t. They look for very specific organizational attributes or they move on. Consider for a second whether-or-not your HiPos might be planning to move on! If yours do move on, your leadership bench strength and strategic plans could be put into jeopardy.

As the HiPo interviews continue, a clear trend emerged – building sustainable high-potential leadership capacity requires a holistic approach.

What Do the HiPos Mean by Holistic?

HiPos are highly-sensitive to communications and the actions & inaction of senior leadership. HiPos are networked, technology-savvy and leaders to their peers. Peers have replaced the influence and control formerly held by “positional authority” bosses. If you wish to attract and retain talented and mobile HiPos, think of your organization as a system. For example:

Your HiPo program cannot flourish in isolation; the program must be fully integrated into your organizations’ vision, mission, values and strategic plan. Your senior leaders, Talent Development and Human Resources either align to provide meaningful opportunities with the HiPo program or they don’t.

Failure to embrace this holistic approach could mean your bright young leaders leave, in droves…

The pace of technological change continues to rise sharply. How do world-class companies respond to these stressors? What are the most effective means to address leadership shortfalls? A holistic HiPo program is grounded in elements that engender pride from the CTO to the CEO and motivate full engagement from the HiPos. Your talent factory must be capable of identifying and developing the right leaders into your HIPO program. And in turn, your HIPO program provides the leadership challenges to build the meta leader skills and traits necessary for a) jobs that don’t exist today and b) expand leaders’ capability to drive toward the organization of tomorrow. Implementing a holistic HiPo program builds sustainable leadership capacity and creates a magnet for your competitors’ key talent!



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