These results suggested that the high-pos, as a group, had more in common with reliable doers and good followers than with strategic business leaders. It appeared that individuals were identified as high potential because of their track record and current performance rather than signs that they could succeed in a senior role. A thorough review of the high-po nomination process was conducted and concluded that there were several opportunities for enhancement.
The process was redesigned in three ways. First, an explicit definition of “high potential” was articulated with five critical personal factors that emphasized the capacity for strategic thinking, risk tolerance, adaptability, and a balance between EQ and tough-mindedness in addition to the table stakes factor of drive and ambition. Second, the distinction between performance in current role and potential for a senior role was made clear, along with guidelines for how to consider the differences in scope, scale, and responsibility when assessing potential. Finally, instead of manager nominations alone, the new process included a rigorous debate among managers at the next level above each nominee.