Spotting And Developing The High Potential Talents Of Your Organization

organization’s talent development

Organizations often struggle to spot their next-gen leaders. When you are unfamiliar with what the future will bring, how can you even determine who has or who can acquire the right skills to meet the challenges? Which of the high potentials have the caliber to fetch you the best bucks for your development efforts? 

Organizations often struggle
Confronted with the never-ending uncertainties, organizations often end up focusing on what they already know. They hunt for the people that have already shouldered more responsibility and have attained their performance targets. Looking out for future leaders by being focused on their past track records is a common practice amongst organizations of today. Although this method can work well when the potential candidate has had opportunities to demonstrate the required skillset. But is the past performance record a good enough way to judge whether the candidate will be a suitable fit or not? It also restricts you from identifying the high potential talents in the initial stages of their career. This means that your leadership pipeline can miss out on the richer sources of talent – the individuals that haven’t had the exposure to mentoring, development, sponsorship, and advancement prospects yet. 

To overcome this obstacle, there’s a model used by organizations that allows them to predict the leadership potential that is based not on achievements but on observable, measurable behaviors. It consists of three psychological markers that anticipate the individual’s proficiency to develop and manage the increased complexity involved in the new roles:

  • Drive quotient (DQ) – What inspires them and how they use their energy
  • Cognitive quotient (CQ) – How they leverage their mind
  • Emotional quotient (EQ) – How they connect with those around them

While these markers are entrenched in interpersonal, inspiration, and intellect styles, they don’t give raw estimates of these qualities. Rather they indicate how people utilize these qualities when they are working helps organizations in gauging the potential for leadership. This approach makes you aware of the leadership potential of individuals, irrespective of their depth of experience. Let’s look at these areas individually to develop a better understanding. 

1. Drive Quotient (DQ)

The word drive here is not just referring to the inspiration to excel, persistence, and a strong work ethic. The fact is that these qualities do matter but are quite common amongst inspiring leaders. The point of differentiation here is how these people use their energy – not solely for enhancing their performance but to mold and influence the abilities of others. People having high levels of DQ are known to step outside their comfort zones and relish facing new challenges. Moreover, they are also far more resilient as whenever they encounter a setback, they stand up again and try again. These individuals consistently strive to get better not just as individuals but to intensify the outcomes at the organizational level. 

2. Cognitive Quotient (CQ)

The majority of the organizations pay attention to only intellectual horsepower while considering their leadership bench. This is understandable as it is a valuable quality and the market is flooded with tools that will enable you to measure it. It is then assumed that all the individuals who do well in these measures are smart enough to learn whatever they have to in order to become successful. However, these measures can be quite steeped in bias. The book smarts will always be favored over the practical smarts in these measurements. So, you should be searching for the more advanced behaviors that uncover the individuals who utilize their intellect to solve the issues.

3. Emotional Quotient (EQ)

In order to thrive, organizations need leaders to have emotional intelligence, and self-awareness and they should get along well with people. Although these qualities are essential but are not sufficient enough. This is why the Emotional Quotient enables you to get people who have the tendency of engaging to impact. The ones who are intentional about channeling their senses for influencing the stakeholders and negotiating results. Moreover, you should be opting for those who have the ability to deliver difficult messages with ease. 

Using the model for developing potential

To effectively tap leadership prospects in the early stages, organizations can add a few steps in their talent processes. Start by enlightening your managers about what to look for during recruiting and screening the potential candidates for developing prospects. Make them understand that performance on its own cannot be taken as a proxy for calibers. Ensure that your managers have an understanding of how to recognize DQ, CQ, and EQ in employees having no track record or same background.

You can also develop the potential candidates as a component of your organization’s talent development and performance management process. Managers can speed up the process of professional growth by assessing the three skillsets of employees as well as guiding them on how to develop further. In order to build the muscles associated with CQ, organizations should make their employees attend meetings with senior leadership so that they are able to gain a broader viewpoint on the business. While the DQ can be conceived through stretch prospects that test them in fresh ways. For instance, give your managers bigger teams to manage and then see if they can adapt swiftly. Lastly, the talented workforce can build their EQ through organizational culture. Have them use tools and methodologies that will deepen their awareness of how they are personally wired and what makes everyone tick. 

When used together EQ, DQ, and CQ measures will enable your organization in determining and developing the next-gen leaders. For more assistance regarding employee development, reach out to us today! 

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Gaurav Sabharwal


Gaurav is the CEO of JOP (Joy of Performing), an OKR and high-performance enabling platform. With almost two decades of experience in building businesses, he knows what it takes to enable high performance within a team and engage them in the business. He supports organizations globally by becoming their growth partner and helping them build high-performing teams by tackling issues like lack of focus, unclear goals, unaligned teams, lack of funding, no continuous improvement framework, etc. He is a Certified OKR Coach and loves to share helpful resources and address common organizational challenges to help drive team performance. Read More

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