Taking talent to the top tier

  1. Assuming that high potentials are highly engaged — many of these employees set an incredibly high standard for their employers. Exactly because they work harder (and usually more effectively) than their peers, they expect their bosses to treat them well — an opportunity to have stimulating work, recognition, compelling career paths and the chance to prosper if the organisation does.
  2. Equating current high performance to future potential — research shows apparently that 70% of today’s top performers lack critical attributes critical to their success in future roles. The survey named three — ability (intellectual, emotional and technical skills), engagement (the level of personal connection and commitment that the employee feels towards the company and its mission) and aspiration (the desire for recognition, advancement and future rewards and the degree that what the employee wants aligns to what the company wants for him or her).
  3. Delegating down the management of top talent — i.e. expecting these individuals to be managed by line managers, who typically hoard them — protected and certainly not shared. These employees are company assets and should be led as such.
  4. Shielding rising stars from early derailment — true leadership development takes place under real stress. New capabilities must be acquired here to stay in the game. As such, protection from failure actually thwarts possible growth.
  5. Expecting star employees to share the pain — the decision to freeze or cut salaries and other performance-based compensation across the board in difficult business environments. It may seem fair, but erodes the engagement of stars.
  6. Failing to link the stars to the corporate strategy — research shows that their confidence in leadership and in their company’s strategic capabilities are one of the most important factors in top employees’ engagement. Silence or strategy freeze in the midst of economic uncertainty runs the risk of disengaging rising stars when they are most needed.



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Jonathan Mills

Jonathan Mills


Jonathan has spent over 30 years focusing his efforts on developing people throughout the world. He believes that people have the most impact when stretched.