“Our cultural instinct is to wait to get picked…No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself.” –Seth Godin, The Icarus Deception
Are You On the Grid?
Do you know where you stand in your organization’s succession plan?
Most organizations use a deliberate approach like the 9 box Performance Potential Grid (great tool, for more visit Dan McCarthy).
If you have been told you are “high potential” do you know how many others are in the same “box?” in line for the same jobs?
If you don’t know, you should ask. If these programs are being executed well, those identified as having higher performance and potential will receive extra development and stretch assignments.
Being on the grid can be very helpful.
However… the grid is based on perception and opinions. If you are in a good spot on the grid, great… but don’t depend on it. If not, don’t freak out… take action.
A grid does not define you.
Why Being on the Performance Potential Grid is Not Enough
“Blaming the system is soothing because it lets you off the hook. But when the system was broken, we wonder why you were relying on it in the first place.” -Seth Godin
Organizations reorganize. Sponsors retire. Mergers happen. Politics change. It’s quite possible that all the people who put you on the grid yesterday, will be off doing something else tomorrow. Then, the grid is just a grid. Those opinions have moved on.
Performance Potential Grids don’t promote people, people do.
I went back and looked though the grids I had used in my organization as an HR Director years ago. Many names from the best parts of the grid have since been promoted and having strong careers. But other high performance-potential candidates had been caught up in mergers, downsizings, and other drama. Some are still unemployed. There were also people who had been once deemed “lower potential” now holding significant leadership positions.
Don’t wait for the grid
What else you can do…
- Knock your current job out of the park
- Differentiate yourself as a go-to for something strategic in your organization
- Volunteer for special projects that will expose you to new skills and people
- Have several mentors and at least one sponsor
- Take calculated risks
- Make cross-functional lateral moves (see Full Potential Leadership: Convincing them to bet on you)
- Ask for feedback on your brand (not just from your boss)
- Build a professional community outside of your organization
- Stay current on LinkedIn and other social networks and be open to new connections
- ? What would you add?
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