Reading this article* in The Glass Hammer,
I couldn't resist sharing it with you especially after my piece on this last year (http://empowered-women-excel.blogspot.ca/2013/03/are-you-hi-po-or.html).
I’ll highlight things that struck me, my comments are in purple font: According to Harvard Business Review, companies identify 3-5%
of their workforce as “High Potential.” If you have made that list,
congratulations! You likely have outstanding technical expertise and an
aptitude for strategic thinking. You probably have already delivered strong
results, succeeded in various roles, and sought ways to improve processes and efficiency.
Although making the list is an achievement in and of itself, it is only the
first step. Now, as your journey as a “High Potential” begins, what steps
should you take to position yourself for realizing that potential? EW: Indeed it’s one thing to “get on
the list” Congrats!!! Now, how do you (plan to) stay on the list? It know how - it's actually as simple as ABC...
Anticipate that “soft” skills will increase in
importance.A common mistake is
assuming that the same skill set, approach, and behaviors that led you to be
named a “High Potential” will also lead to further advancement. EW: In other words, wrongly assuming that what got you there will not keep you there. Your technical skill, strong work ethic, and strategic thinking
will likely allow you to continue excelling in your current job, or to make
lateral moves. However, additional competencies may be necessary to reach the
next level – ones you may need to work on developing. For instance, as ”High
Potential” candidates are considered for promotions and stretch assignments,
”soft” skills such as influencing, delegating, networking, and leadership
become more important than technical expertise. EW: I know from experience that there is an inverse relationship
between “hard” (technical) skills & “soft” (leadership) skills the higher you
go. The challenge is making that paradigm shift then start developing or deepening your soft skills. Become your CEO (Create a written career plan, commit to it, and hold yourself
accountable.) This advice applies
not only to “High Potentials,” but to all goal-setting. As an ambitious “High Potential,”
it will serve you well to reflect on what your goals are and to list tactical
actions you can take to achieve them over the short, medium, and long term.
Once you determine your target role, identify the gaps in your resume that you
need to fill to be able to reach that position. Although this may seem like a
daunting task at first, start out by getting the basics on paper. Then,
continue to improve your career plan over time. You will get the most out of
being a “High Potential” by continuing to invest in improving both your
technical and “soft” skills, as guided by the goals outlined in your career
plan. EW: If the tactical seems too technical,
start with your strategic big picture then break it up into tactical steps.
Consider the positioning – not just the position. Take control of your next
career move. Many individuals may
assume that the designation as a “High Potential” on an HR alone list will
create opportunities. Although some opportunities may come to you, you can
increase the likelihood of achieving your goals if you take control of your
career. Start networking across divisions and seek projects that increase your
visibility. Do all you can to get on the radar of senior leaders who will keep
you in mind for a new role before the position officially opens. EW: Be careful that you don't go boot-licking otherwise, you will remain at people's "feet" & lose any respect that you may have gained on your way up to the Hi-Po list. If you
position yourself to be the “slated” candidate for a key role, you will be in a
much better place than if you wait for a role to open up and you happen to be
one of many applicants. EW: When you apply, your name is familiar to the Hiring Managers & your Manager is aware of your performance and potential.
As you evaluate different
positions for your next move, consider not only the position itself, but what
subsequent assignments it could lead to. As
a designated “High Potential”, you may be in demand among various groups at
your company. When you are targeting a new opportunity, analyze the medium- and
long-term career benefits of each option carefully. Look at the career
progression of others who have worked in roles similar to the one you are
considering. Where are they now? Think about the gaps on your resume that you
will need to fill to become a strong candidate for your target position. Will
the role you are considering fill some of those gaps? Although it may be
difficult to decline a position that seems exciting, if the position does not
help you progress toward your specific career goals, it may be best to keep
looking. EW: Take the time to ask others for advice or guidance possibly based on their experiences - however, remember the decision and ultimate career is yours.
If you have been identified as a “High
Potential,” remember that you are only part of the way to achieving your career
goals. Keep these recommendations in mind as you design your strategy and
navigate the transitions on your journey toward achieving your full potential
as a professional. EW: Keep these tips as
the ABCs for moving from Hi-Po to High performer…you have 350 days to get and, most importantly, stay there...