This video compares and contrasts informal and formal high potential development programs. The pros and cons of formal high development programs are discussed. The video highlights the importance of high potential programs linkage to business strategy. The video recommends the best approaches to high potential development programs.
- In addition to on-the-job development strategies such as rotations and short-term assignments, many companies benefit greatly from having formal high potential development programs. There's a lot of talk about whether or not organizations should have development programs just for high potentials, so let's take a look at both sides. On one hand, high potential only programs can be controversial to implement. If it's not clear to others how individuals are selected, you may cause morale issues among those not selected.
On the other hand, the benefits of a well designed and well run high development program can far outweigh the potential risks. By far the most important goal of these development programs is to get high potentials ready to become successors for key positions. It also sends them a strong message that you value them, and are making an investment in their growth. Let's take a look at what will make this type of program successful.
Start by asking yourself a few tough questions. What are our objectives for this program? How will it support our business strategy and improve our competitive advantage? Programs should be aligned with your company's strategy. You want to prepare high potentials to drive business success. For example, if your company's strategy is to grow in emerging markets, your program might focus on building global leadership skills, and leading in unfamiliar settings.
Once you're clear on how the program will benefit both individuals and the organization, spend time to make it a well-defined and specialized program. When you're designing the program, remember that high potentials need visibility to senior executives, as well as a chance to see them in action as role models. Most high potential development programs involve senior leaders as speakers, teachers, coaches, and mentors.
Many high potential programs also have a component of self-assessment, where individuals go through a 360 process to get feedback and input from others across the organization. This helps them target their own development needs during the program. The program should include giving participants projects to work on together. Giving them a real business problem to solve can be rewarding to participants as well as benefit the organization.
Skill building should be focused on those skills most critical to your business. Most importantly, there should be a clear next step identified at the end of the program. How will high potentials integrate what they've learned into their day to day? Make sure you've made a strong plan. Maybe it's individual coaching, a mentor, or more on-the-job opportunities. Maybe you're now ready to place the individual in a new role.
Make it clear and be transparent about what's next. As you select high potentials to attend the program, remember that you've probably created significant challenges for them and they're under a lot of pressure to succeed. You don't want them to feel that the program will slow them down or get in their way. Make sure that your program design and focus supports them for the future, and that they can see its value.
Finally, don't forget to determine how you'll measure program success, and make changes along the way. Remember that high potentials learn quickly, and are motivated by the opportunity to develop their skills. They'll want the program to meet their expectations and have clearly defined outcomes. So, does this mean that identifying and putting the right people through a comprehensive program is a guarantee of success? Not necessarily.
Yet, giving employees a devoted time to learn and build new skills will most likely pay off in the future, and accelerate your high potentials' ability to propel your business forward.