Journal Article | Harvard Business Review | June 2010

Are You a High Potential?

by Douglas A. Ready, Jay A. Conger and Linda A. Hill

Abstract

Some employees are more talented than others, and nearly every company has its method for identifying their high-potential managers. So how can you get on your company's high-potential list? Douglas A. Ready, of the talent-management research center ICEDR; Jay A. Conger, of Claremont McKenna College; and Harvard Business School's Linda A. Hill have studied programs for high-potential leaders for 15 years. They have found that the rising stars who make the grade are remarkably similar in their core characteristics, the most intangible of which they call "X factors": a drive to excel, a catalytic learning capability, an enterprising spirit, and dynamic sensors that detect opportunities and obstacles. The authors' in-depth interviews with high potentials, their managers, and their HR departments reveal how you can develop your four X factors and, if you manage to get on your company's high-potential list, how to avoid falling off. The article also discusses the pros and cons companies face as they decide whether to make their high-potential lists transparent.

Keywords: Talent and Talent Management; Employees; Leadership Development; Personal Development and Career; Personal Characteristics;

Citation:

Ready, Douglas A., Jay A. Conger, and Linda A. Hill. "Are You a High Potential?" Harvard Business Review 88, no. 6 (June 2010).