How to stream your HiPo development


You know different levels of leadership come with different levels of complexity, challenge, and ambiguity.  High-potential leaders rushed up the promotion ladder may be derailed as senior leaders if they miss out on a seminal developmental experience.  Critical experience, domain knowledge and leader capabilities are ideally created in a lattice approach. A lattice approach creates a well-rounded business executive with the context and understanding to really lead into the future. At the very least, leaders want to experience trust, respect, and honesty and have them combine to “create the conditions for exceptional performance” (The Work Foundation, 2010).  High-potential leaders expect good management and great leadership role models.  Your executive team may require support in sponsoring HiPos. Its become so important, that Learn2 created the Executive Sponsorship System to help clients avoid the risks of executives failing to develop or engage hi-po leaders.

Stream Your HiPo Programs

Consider streaming your HiPo programs into early-career HiPos, mid-career HiPos,  and senior leadership HiPos

= Early-career – Action learning focuses on achieving business results. Offer skill building & peer networking opportunities.  Clarify behaviors & skills required for moving up quickly.  Develop mentor relationships. 

= Mid-career – Offer strategic plan, cross-divisional leadership and high visibility challenges.  Provide opportunities for demonstrating resilience and learning agility.  Demonstrate leading team skills.

= Senior Leadership – Challenges to create next generation of enterprise-wide results.  Crucible role opportunities, leading large transformational change projects, global assignments, & launching new ventures / products.

Get clear on the experience and investment required. Avoid the temptation to make your HiPo program about learning and development rather than leading and achieving business results. Select assignments that develop skills and traits while expanding capacity by solving complexity, challenge and ambiguity.  The CTOs warned that HiPos who are fast-tracked, rushed or transitioned-poorly into overly-challenging opportunities may derail.

Develop Your HiPos!

The best high-potential development programs link developmental program elements to actual experience leading in a thoughtfully-designed system.  These programs include career and personal development opportunities orchestrated to impact the HiPos’ own developmental and interest requirements. 

6 Ways to Make Your HiPo Development Link to Business Results

1. New Division, Enterprise-Wide or New Geography Assignment – the simplest way is a new challenging role where the HiPo gains knowledge of another domain or expands capabilities.

2. Shadow Cabinet or CXO Challenge Assignment HiPos programs often empower participants to access high-level info and suggest actions to address serious strategic issues. CEO challenge assignments are a faster implementation of this concept, with a team of selected high-potential leaders responsible to tackle a strategic challenge with recommendations reported to the CEO or Senior Executive team.

3. Capture Identified Opportunities or Solve Specific Challenges – Setting a date and a target engages leaders to achieve results and engage people. The best way to learn to lead is through leading. So Challenge Assignments like the Million Dollar Leadership Challenge get participants to learn by leading. Learn2 leads this program where 20-25 participants achieve a million-dollar swing to the bottom line over 6-9 months.

4. Crucible Roles – Assignment to a Known Trouble Spot – Place your HiPos in crucible roles where they lead. Crucible roles are well-known to be “prince/princess maker” positions. Because if you can succeed in that role, you can succeed anywhere.

5. Action learning   Enable HiPo networks to achieve specific business results. Action leading and action learning align in this powerful approach to HiPo engagement. Business Line Leaders appreciate the business impact and Talent Development gains a reputation for relevance and alignment to the business strategy. Building social capital through a combination of tailosred learning combined with collaborative teams applying the learning to lead high-priority organizational challenges and opportunities.  This approach can tangibly increase the value of the HiPo’s internal social capital

6. Mentors, coaches and sages provide HiPo’s career development with access to a support network of seasoned senior resources.  Engaging seasoned senior leaders as sponsors and mentors removes known derailers of HiPos, helps you cross-train faster, and ensures scarce knowledge resides in your organization. We’ve found that often a structure supports executives becoming sponsors.



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