Leadership Speaker John Mattone shared his insights “Understanding Performance Vs Potential”at Thinkers50.
What can organizations learn from Major League Baseball as it relates to succession management processes and tools?
The importance of differentiating performance, skills and potential. Performance assessment is always important, however, performance always means more as the requirements for success in the lower role approximate the requirements for success in the higher role (e.g., triple A vs. major leagues). Implication: performance reviews and 360-degree assessments should be utilized to calibrate a leader’s performance and present capability.
Potential is more elusive. However, you can mitigate risk by calibrating and re-calibrating the more enduring micro-skills, competencies and traits that tend to endure over-time regardless of the situation or challenge. If an 18 year-old recently drafted player can throw the baseball 90 miles per hour—it is very probable—assuming he remains healthy—that he will be throwing the baseball 93 to 95 miles per hour when he is 21 years old. Implication: predictive trait assessments that measure a leaders enduring values and goals, the manner and approach they use to achieve their goals, and the potential “red flag” traits they exhibit under pressure—are all very important measures that help accurately estimate a leaders potential. What also helps is seeing how they act and respond to the tougher situations and challenges that come with larger roles without actually being placed in the larger role (e.g., minor league baseball and its’ various levels are “low risk” simulation environments which test a players potential). In the corporate world, simulation assessments—assessment centers, on-line leadership simulation assessments, behavioral interviewing, and critical thinking assessments such as the Watson-Glaser are powerful tests of leadership potential—especially when combined with trait assessments.
Calibrate and re-calibrate performance and potential. The disappointing reality in the corporate world and government agencies, however, is once an individual is designated “high potential”—invariably they remain a “high potential”. In professional baseball, once you are drafted and deemed “high potential”, you begin an arduous journey in which talent evaluators, scouts and coaches measure and calibrate a players performance, skills and potential—every step of the way—every day. In fact, “high potentials” in professional baseball have no guarantee they will remain on the “list”. Inevitably, most do get removed as they are replaced every June by the next wave of “high potentials”. It’s “put up or shut up”! Implication: organizations need to become more passionate and diligent about measuring and re-measuring performance and potential and they should use this information to: (1) hold their “high potentials” more accountable so they strive to become the best they can be and (2) drive better succession and development decisions.
John Mattone is widely regarded as the world’s leading authority on the Future Trends of Leadership Development & Talent Management. John has been recognized by the prestigious Thinkers50 as one of the world’s leading management thinkers and by Leadership Excellence Magazine as one of the world’s top independent leadership consultants, executive coaches and speakers.