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Managing and developing high-potential leaders is one of the most difficult corporate practices in today’s ever-changing environment, says Andrew Roscoe, the global leader of Egon Zehnder’s Executive Assessment and Development Practice. Past experiences, current skills and competencies are insufficient indicators of future success, and organizations must start to rethink how they spot, develop and retain their best executives.

“This is done by assessing leaders’ potential – the raw material that can help predict the development of new key leadership capabilities, as well as the speed of that development,” he says.

According to Roscoe, executive potential can be assessed by exploring and identifying where leaders fall on several critical traits. Working with executives on a global scale, Egon Zehnder has found that these traits are actually closely related to competencies, so an executive with high levels of certain traits will be better able to develop associated competencies. ‘Potential’ can help identify where current or future leaders can build further capabilities. To truly measure potential in executives and turn it into success, Egon Zehnder consultants measure: Curiosity, Insight, Engagement and Determination. These can be observed on a four-point scale ranging from ‘Emerging’ to ‘Extraordinary.’

While the four potential hallmarks provide a foundation for certain leadership competencies, customized development guided by leadership is critical. Roscoe has advice for how to close the gap between competencies and potential: “Organizations need to tap into new and innovative practices for identifying, onboarding and retaining new leaders.”

‘Turning a Potential Leader Into a Successful One’ written by Andrew Roscoe for Chief Executive, is based on ‘Turning Potential Into Success: The Missing Link in Leadership Development’, originally featured in Harvard Business Review.

Full Story: “Turning a Potential Leader Into A Successful One” (8 January 2017).

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