Everybody has potential. Yet, companies have been struggling for decades. How do you identify it? For more than 50 years, consultancies like BCG and McKinsey are offering their views. Created in 1968, the growth share matrix prioritises business according to their profitability (remember the stars and cash cows?). McKinsey wasn’t far behind when they developed the 9-box to “determine where best to invest its cash”. While both models focused on business investment, they progressed to categorise individuals during talent review meetings.


Taking high potentials to a new level

During the traditional review meetings, managers and HR discussed the past performance and speculated on the employee’s future. Often placed in in one of the boxes in the 9-box-talent-matrix, they evaluate the employee’s past behaviour, aptitudes and capabilities.

The human need to improve and become better is completed ignored in these meetings. The review team decides how to develop or stretch the employee. The employee is excluded from the process. Companies are recognising this dilemma: they are not making the most of their employees’ capabilities. In a recent SHL poll, 70% of participants admitted they could better.


Link the employee’s motivation and achievement

The key part of identifying potential centres around the individual’s drive and energy. When we know what motivates the employee, we can connect it with their ambition and the organisation’s future demands. We need to consider work preferences, just like capability and career goals.

Though employees may not always have the full self-awareness. This is where psychometric assessments like the MBTI Career Report can be beneficial. They can unearth insights even unknown to the employee themselves.

Recognising that not every employee wants to progress upwards, companies can identify and provide suitable moves sideways, creating greater internal mobility. Providing these new opportunities to your employees double functions as an incentive. Companies encourage employees to keep learning and develop their skills. This leads to greater job satisfaction while helping the organisation to fill (key) roles faster.


Predicting the potential

So if we had a magic ball, seeing into the future would be easy. So, as you identify potential, what kind of potential are you actually trying to predict?

What kind of skills and capabilities are you looking to build? What skills and behaviours do you need to be successful? How can you align future business needs and competencies? What gaps need to be closed?

By answering these questions, organisations can match capability, motivation and preference to optimise their succession and workforce planning. You align the needs of the individual team, with their team and business strategy. You are thus creating more meaningful employee experiences.

Prepare and enable your leaders for these conversations. Give them the support and guidance to feel comfortable to understand their employee’s strengths and establish effective development opportunities for their employees. These can include stretch assignments, special projects, new roles, coaching.

Make leadership development part of your HR strategy and empower your leaders to guide, coach and develop their team members. Contact us and find out how we can support you with our tailored leadership development programmes, coaching your leaders to success.