Forty percent of designated “Hi-Po” (high-potential employees) are seen as disappointing in their performance, and often derail at some later point in their careers. Harvard Business Review, in an article (by Tomas Chamorrow-Premuzic and Abhijot) has identified that the selection process in many companies is flawed by politics. Developing future leaders is very important. How the individuals are selected, and developed, has a major impact on the future of the organization.
When the the truly strong future leaders are not developed, they often leave … maybe even going to the competition. How a company develops leaders impacts the entire organization’s view of the company’s commitment to development.
The authors see:
- Politics of Intuition – People significantly overestimate their ability to judge future potential based on the past, without scientific assessment or other data to forecast the future. Intuition is not that effective as a selection tool.
- Politics of Self-Interest – Managers who are more concerned about their own careers have an incentive to not offer their top performers to Hi-Po programs, because managers do not want to risk losing their best performers to being promoted out of their area.
- Politics of Avoidance – Managers who are uncomfortable with conflict may promote the person who confronts them, in hopes that the challenging person moves out of their area.
- Politics of Favoritism – Recommending the person the manager likes best is not uncommon.
- Politics of Ageism – The manager (or culture) may favor candidates who are younger, or conversely more experienced; ignoring consideration of other age brackets.
- Politics of Gender – There is proven bias in most organizations that tends to favor men over women, even though studies find women to be equal, or better, leaders.
Past performance is not always a good predictor of future success. The skills that get someone to mid-career are not the same as the ones needed to be a senior leader. For example, the Intelligent Impatient Person Profile (IIPP) is often rewarded in the first decade of one’s career. But the IIPP profile becomes a limiting factor if the impatient side is not managed well. Also, those who lead with their intelligence in their 40’s, will undermine their effectiveness at middle and upper management levels.
We have seen Hi-Po programs yield excellent results when selection is more objective, and the development programs are pragmatic. We have been coaching Hi-Po programs for over twenty years, with great results. Our Perception, Persuasion and Executive Presence™ Workshop (PPEP) has been particularly effective, as well as our individual coaching. Accelerating maturity and self-awareness is key to accelerating leadership development.