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Why We Need to Reframe Potential into Readiness

September 2, 2019 - 3 min read

Why We Need to Reframe Potential into Readiness

For years, we’ve been investing in employees who show “potential.” We separate out those who show potential from those who don’t, and then route hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of dollars into developing this elite group to rise up to the challenges of leadership.
But research has shown that one-off training and development programs aren’t working. In fact, Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trends Report highlights that people are increasingly learning all the time, in micro-environments, and careers don’t go “up or out,” but rather, spread in every direction.


Potential is highly subjective. At best, it allows you to identify 3-5% of your workforce and invest in this small group of people, leaving other talented individuals behind. At worst, identifying HiPos leaves you in a vulnerable position of singling out and investing in the wrong individuals or neglecting talent that possesses leadership capabilities, but needs a boost.


As market forces demand that organizations become flatter, ‘growth’ takes on a new meaning.

As market forces demand that organizations become flatter, ‘growth’ takes on a new meaning. The leaders of today and tomorrow aren’t necessarily moving ‘up’ a ladder; rather, they need to develop skills that make them more agile.
Through a combination of proven behavioral science research and the extensive expertise of our of science and advisory boards, we’ve identified that “high readiness” — as opposed to “potential” — is a better lens for leveraging the talent you have within your organization.
By reframing potential into readiness and implementing a coaching program, you’ll better position yourself to build leadership behaviors in more individuals on your team, faster.  

Does your HiPo Program Change Behavior Effectively?

If you want to learn more about how to reframe your HiPo program in a way that addresses the shortcomings of potential, view and download our paper, which dives deeper into how coaching can effectively develop leadership behaviors among a broader set of talented individuals in your organization.

Original art by  Theo Payne.



Published September 2, 2019

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