The foundational question when building a top-notch HiPo program is:
“Potential for what?”
The answer lies in knowing what makes leadership unique in a given firm, industry, or context. In the more than 65 years we have been in business, we have clarified the performance requirements associated with a wide range of executive jobs in both the public and private sectors, ranging from government leaders in the Senior Executive Service to Girl Scout CEOs and everything in between. We have also worked with the U.S. Secret Service to identify the performance requirements and competencies associated with five agency-wide leadership levels, which serve as the foundation for a customized Leadership Development System. This work has given us a clear appreciation for the local, contextualized nature of leadership.
Because only a select group of employees are chosen to participate, all high potential programs involve segmentation—making the HiPo designation one of the most critical decisions an organization makes. In our view, the assessments used to inform this decision must reflect the unique nature of the organization’s leadership roles as well as its strategy and values.
Recognizing the importance of high-touch assessments for evaluating HiPos, we have developed custom live assessment centers to identify candidates for the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) threetiered leadership development program. We recently built upon this work by creating a fully virtual, richmedia simulation designed to identify HiPos for selection into SSA’s executive development program. We also created an online, interactive leadership assessment that a Fortune 500 insurance company uses to predict which applicants will succeed as franchise owners.
Along with helping organizations identify HiPos, we have built custom assessments that serve as developmental tools for individuals participating in HiPo programs. For a transportation industry client, we built an engaging online tool that simulates many challenges unique to that sector, such as balancing efficiency and safety, managing a wide set of diverse stakeholders, and working through public-private partnerships.