That was a question asked me by a CEO of a growing medical supply company who wanted to match three of his department heads with the right kinds of development to prepare them to advance into the executive team. He didn’t want to send them to a generic leadership program. Rather he wanted a more customized approach.
So I introduced him to the nine box grid – a talent management tool for employee development and succession planning. It assesses people on two dimensions – their present performance (low-medium-high) and their future potential (low-medium- high). That leads to the following nine categories:
How to Use the Tool
To assess performance ask this question:
“Does this person’s performance exceed expectations, meet expectations or fall below expectations?”
It can be useful to refer to recent performance appraisals or other performance discussions you may have had in the past year.
To assess potential can be challenging because you are not relying on how well the person is performing today but rather how well he or she will perform in the future. To help you decide ask the following questions:
- If you promoted this person to a more demanding role tomorrow could he or she meet the challenge?
- Do you feel confident this person could learn the skills needed to perform at a higher level?
- Have you noticed this person seeking out leadership or demonstrating leadership abilities?
After a robust discussion, here’s how the CEO categorized his department heads.
1. Person A: Future Stars (High Potential, Average Performance)
Development: High profile projects that push her outside her comfort zones plus regular coaching to exceed performance expectations.
2. Person B: Rough Diamond (High Potential, Poor Performance)
Development: Training plus projects in specific functional areas that can grow his experience to give him confidence and build his reputation.
3. Person C: Current Star (Moderate Potential, High Performance)
Development: Coaching to reinforce high performance and to determine readiness and desire for upward mobility.
As a leader, you need to regularly assess talent within your organization. That way, you can give your people the training and development they need to reach their full potential plus have a pipeline of emerging leaders. However, it can be a real challenge to evaluate talent objectively, which is why a tool like “the nine-box grid for talent management” is so useful.
Smart Moves Tip:
Companies need a high proportion of exceptional performers and a pipeline of talent to move to the next levels as the grows and new opportunities emerge. Have you identified your future leaders? Do you have a plan for them? Or are you leaving it up to chance?
You can’t afford to ignore talent management today if you want to stay in business tomorrow! How well are you developing your top talent and future leaders? See our strong start coaching program and our coaching results.