Doug RiddleWhat can go wrong when you try to accelerate the development of your rising stars?

Plenty, says CCL’s Doug Riddle: “The negative side effects may even swamp the benefit your organization may receive.”

As you work to develop your high-potential talent, beware of four common side effects:

  1. Training other companies’ leaders. If a high-potential program is not part of a well-thought-out strategy for leadership development, your main result is going to be a terrific program for training the future leaders of your competition. It’s a simple math problem. You train 30 high-potential leaders each year for five advancement opportunities. What happens to the rest of them?
  2. Dividing your workforce. How do you select the leaders who will be involved in the first or second cohorts for your program? If you are not clear, explicit and transparent about the process, the assumption will certainly be made that it is another way to promote the ‘favorites.’ Any scent of favoritism fractures the climate of the organization with the suspicion that there are insiders and outsiders.
  3. Creating entitled prima donnas. When the program for high potentials is framed as a reward for extra special people, it should come as no surprise when participants become arrogant. High potentials need a platform to demonstrate extraordinary results, not a free ticket to privilege.
  4. Undermining your core business. Are your high-potential program components linked to the real and current business challenges? If not, they will be seen as irrelevant fluff.

Riddle describes the 4 side effects and their antidotes in a new Harvard Business Review blog post: Your High-Potential Program Could Ruin Your Business.

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