This video outlines how to have effective development conversations with high potentials. It can be challenging to have development conversations, and even more so with high potentials who have high expectations. This video explores how development conversations not only show individuals that they matter; these conversations also create a specific and tangible plan that high potentials are looking for in their career development.
- [Voiceover] Organizations use many strategies to develop high potentials. And the most important starting place, is the Development Conversation. It can be tempting for managers to have this conversation once or twice a year, but especially for high potentials, this should be a frequent and ongoing conversation. The purpose is to align high potentials career aspirations with the career direction the organization envisions for them. This is the time to make sure that a plan is in place to make progress towards the development goals that were identified.
Hopefully a detailed development plan was built as the result of a talent review or succession planning process. The skills and experiences to help this individual prepare to take on a new role were most likely identified. But, what do they think of them? What do they see as their strengths and opportunities for improvement. The first step is for the manager and individual to get on the same page. High potentials will have a point of view about what experiences they'd like next, and what projects and assignments are exciting to them.
The Development Conversation is the perfect place to discuss this. Once you're on the same page, the focus of the conversation shifts. What specific actions does the organization, manager, and the individual need to take to reach these goals? An effective plan is specific. It includes the skills to build, how each skill will be developed, new experiences required, and timing of each of these. It's important for the plan to outline what success looks like, or how the individual will know that they've made progress against their goals.
Let's say that a high potential has just started a new project. The development conversation will uncover obstacles they maybe facing, and what's required to overcome them. Or maybe they've taken on a role leading a brand new team and want to discuss the strategies they're using. The development conversation is also the chance to make sure progress is being made on the skills they initially identified. This is the chance for a manager to reset expectations or make changes in what a high potential is doing to get back on track.
And don't forget that this is a great time for feedback, and recognizing accomplishments. High potentials want to know that they're doing a good job and making a difference. They want to see how their work is directly contributing to the success of the company. This is a real motivator. Don't forget this is also a great time to ask for feedback on leadership to make sure they're providing the right level of guidance.
Development Conversations should be ongoing and frequent. Does that mean that it's necessary for managers to talk about it during every one on one? No. However, checking in monthly or at least quarterly is key. High potentials want to learn and feel that they're making progress. Forgetting to talk about how they're doing can have a serious impact on their motivation. It's also possible that these conversations maybe challenging.
What if the employee's career aspirations are unrealistic? Or, they aren't aware of the skills they need to develop to progress further. Managers will use this time to reset expectations or give specific examples of the skills the employee will need to move forward. The best approach to a challenging conversation, Prepare. It's important to know what concerns they have and anticipate them.
Are they feeling that the recent rotational assignments you gave them, is isolating them from others? Were unrealistic expectations said about the challenging assignments they're part of? Although high potentials adopt quickly and learn fast, it doesn't mean they won't face obstacles. The Development Conversation is focused on both the present and the future. What skills will enhance they're current performance and which do they need to build for a future role? It's also helpful to explore areas where they feel they do their best.
What strengths they're most proud of, and what aspects of their job interest them most or least. Great conversations keep high potentials on track and help them reflect on and communicate what will help them do their best work with strong, detailed and realistic development plans and frequent conversations to check in on progress, you're way on your way to building your future leaders.