High potential is not the same as “promotable.” It is not about being ready for the next job now, but for the very biggest senior executive jobs down the road.
Executives often don’t know how to gauge this kind of potential; they don’t have a research-based definition to guide them, and the “data” informing their decisions is limited to job performance history. As a result, we’ve consistently seen that 40% to 80% of people identified initially as high-potential leaders are “false positives.”
The cost of the misidentification of high-potential leaders is staggering. It damages careers, it impedes organizational performance, and it sullies the reputation of HR companywide.
Working with validated assessments, using a consistent method to describe talent and potential, and holding facilitated talent discussions for executives are three essential steps toward making sure that high-potential programs pinpoint the very best future leaders.