The High-Potential Talent Stack

13 April 2018
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I recently gave a webinar for the SPARK.grow program on high-potential employees – how companies can identify, foster, and be attractive to high-potential employees, and how high-potentials can identify, develop, and be attractive to high-potential roles. (The recording of the webinar is here.)

I described a “High-Potential Talent Stack.”  That stack has 6 levels – the bottom 3 are the factors that enable someone to perform at any job, and the top 3 levels are the factors that enable someone to perform as a leader.  I want to describe each level…

Performance – this is how well the person gets work done

Results Focus – this is the ability to not just put in the effort, but to figure out a way to go around roadblocks and keep at a task until you get the result that is needed

Learning – high-potentials are always expanding their toolkit of skills, and learning about the work they do

Investment Thinking – this is the ability to think in terms of Return on Investment

Maturity – high-potentials handle themselves well, in different situations and with different people

Leadership – this is the combination of skills that are needed to get a team to perform at a level and in a direction that they wouldn’t get to on their own

This stack is a powerful tool.  It shows what a company can look for when hiring new staff, and what they can train and develop to improve their high-potentials – and shows high-potentials what skills to develop for further growth.

Each level of the stack has 3 more specific components.  The target is to score a total of 12 or higher when each of those components is rated on a 1-5 scale.  Scores of 4-4-4, 5-4-3, or 5-5-2 would all qualify; scores of 5-3-3, 4-4-3, 5-5-1 would not qualify.  It’s a high hurdle – but the people that meet that standard are often the “10x-ers” – the ones who have 10x the impact on your business than your typical employee.

Almost universally, small businesses underinvest in their high potentials.  There’s too much potential ROI for you to do that.