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In times of speed where information, business models, trends and fads, are highly defined and challenged by time, there is a new generation of leaders that need to respond fast to changes, adapt and learn in an environment where business ideas and creativity develop in very short cycles, and where technology and the internet lead businesses to scale up and grow rapidly.

These high potential leaders go beyond the point of good performance and they need to find a right strategy to grow and further develop their skills.

These are the leaders who are ready to test their limits and who can swiftly see the big picture and shape the future.

The problem lies in the fact that these high performing individuals start working in hierarchical structures which are very rigid, or where HR professionals do not have the means or the knowledge to challenge the basic assumptions and the processes of selection, recruitment and promotion.

Talent management professionals should have mechanisms and strategies in practice to make room for these people who need to move and grow nonlinearly but rather exponentially.

High potential leaders share some common characteristics that should alert Human Resource professionals. They:

1.     are in a constant pace of development and they want to learn from people such as the CEO of the company, who has a proven success story. Studies support that high potentials should be given more visibility to senior managers and the organization. That visibility translates into increased opportunities to be coached or mentored, as well as being recognized by others in the organization.

2.     leverage their time and potential by connecting with others and successfully driving teams. High potentials are usually conscious of their skills and competencies and seek opportunities to increase their return on their time. In that end, they are looking for opportunities to create processes for iterative tasks and to connect with other people who can help them leverage their time and effort.

3.     have a unique capability to reinvent business and mental models. They understand mental processes and they can easily deconstruct the current reality, and reinvent the company’s structure and business model.

4.     see the big picture and connect the dots. They envision the future and design a reality to fit this future instead of fitting the company’s vision into the current reality. They challenge the processes and the status quo, and they assume the responsibility and the risk to create new ones, instead of adapting and adjusting to the existing.

5.     are on a fast track and as such they need to be supported by senior management if they are to retain their high levels of engagement.

High potential leaders are conscious of their potential but if they are not formally recognized as such, then they are more likely to leave the organization or reach much faster than the rest, high levels of burn out.

“And we’ll see if one tree won’t grow as crooked as another, with the same wind to twist it!” (by Emily Bronte in her book Wuthering Heights).


Joanna Konstantinou

Innovative, strategic and visionary business consultant and Leadership Coach with experience in versatile business environments. Influencer with a strategic entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial focus who has managed to inspire growth in leaders and businesses.

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