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Four Ways to Increase Your High Potentials

Four Ways to Increase Your High Potentials

  1. Think about high potential versus high performer. Take a step back and approach it from the long view.  Instead of looking at who will be your next VP, take it one step at a time and decide who has promotion potential.  Take an assessment of your pipeline and look at all positions and “scout” people that have the capacity to step up to a management or leadership level job in your organization.  Create an organization where the opportunities for advancement are equitable and fair for all.

  2. Be unbiased in your selection process. In the past, high potentials have been identified by the Manager.  What could be the problem with this?  Subjective judgement.  Instead use data from resources such as assessments to help uncover the high potential people.  When used along with a clear definition of high potential, these will help uncover people that may have gone unnoticed in larger organizations. An added plus, the right assessment will have built in coaching tools to help the manager/leader guide the potential right from the start of any new job.

  3. Make the high potential program personal and applicable. Engage your high potential from the moment of onboarding them into the new program/position by involving them in learning about their own leadership skill set. I use two tools here, PXT Select Leadership Report™ and the Everything DiSC Work of Leaders™ since research suggests that learning leadership skills is more critical than learning about them - this is called “active learning”.  High potential learners are fast learners so the learning should be a mix of virtual or classroom and on the job training.  What is essential is that all of this is directly applicable to the job.  Adult learners like action-based learning and peer based discussions that involve real world business challenges.

  4. Instill coaching into your culture. Organizations that use coaching report increased productivity, retention and engagement.  They also promote more leaders from within and are more likely to have a talent pipeline.  Managers and Leaders do not automatically become good coaches, they need the resources and tools to coach others.  As stated above, a good assessment will deliver a robust coaching report for each employee and a Certified Coach can help your organization instill a coaching plan for your Managers and Leaders.

Take a step back and think about your high potential program in a new and different way.  Take the wide view of your people, what they bring to the organization and consider how you might look at them with fresh eyes.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

Patricia Darke, Registered Corporate Coach™ is the owner of Darke & Associates and author of DNA Professional Leadership Development Program™.  She is a Certified Partner for PXT Select™, Everything DiSC™, The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™ and a member of SHRM™.

Contact her at or 612.866.0692.


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