Are you a “High Po?”
A ‘High Po’ is a high potential employee. Organizations identify employees as high potential and invest in those employees. Companies identify and invest in high potentials (HPs) because they believe that the HPs have the qualities necessary to be future leaders of the organization. Companies send HPs to training, give them developmental assignments, provide them with mentors, and monitor them throughout their careers.
There is nothing scientific about how organizations choose these people. Some organizations do formalized evaluations that includes an evaluation of the traits, skills, and behaviors of employees who have succeeded, other organizations simply ask managers. Sometimes organizations are right in who they choose. Sometimes they are wrong. Sometimes they leave people who are just as much a HP sitting on the sidelines.
If you haven’t been picked as a High Po, does that mean that you can’t/won’t be a leader in your organization? Absolutely not. Organizations need great leaders with skills that will help the organization deliver the strategic goals. If you show the organization that you have the ability, skills, and energy to lead, they will completely forget that they didn’t identify you earlier.
So, What Do You Do?
Treat yourself like a High Po. Create your own Executive Development program focused on growing your own skills. Provide yourself with the training, developmental assignments, get yourself a mentor and measure your progress. Don’t wait for your organization to do it for you (and, by the way, a lot of organizations don’t do it for anyone). Who cares as much about your career as you do? Who wants you to succeed as much as you do?
So, How Do You Do It?
Here’s a list to start:
- What skills does the organization need to be able to deliver on its strategic goals? From people at your level? From leaders? From Executives? What’s missing? (This is important because this is the way the organization thinks).
- What is the (yours/your organization’s )assessment of you? What strengths do you have? What gaps are there in your skill set/experience?
- Looking at your skills/strengths and the org’s needs–where do you fit? Where do you want to fit?. What can you do to start to fill in skill gaps? What kind of class/reading/experience can you give yourself to start developing your skills?
Here are three books that might help:
Take Yourself to the Top by Laura Berman Fortgang
Changing on the Job by Jennifer Garvey Berger
Lessons of Experience by Morgan McCall