By Olivier Courtois, Director Korn Ferry Hay Group Belgium/Luxembourg. Identifying Future Talent or High Potential is always an interesting and challenging exercise for organizations. They bring their leaders and HR representatives around the table, gather all the data they have, and fill in (their own version of) a 9-box. Agreeing on Performance is a relatively quick fix and often leads to few discussions. Identifying and agreeing on Potential is a different story.

Many leaders still have the inclination to believe that the higher the performance, the higher the potential. Actually, some organizations even consider Performance as a pre-requisite to ‘have access’ to the 9-box. In addition, defining upfront what potential means often leads to epic debates and a subsequent consensus on a vague set of characteristics.  At the end of the day, this part of the exercise is often more intuitive than fact-based. And finally, frustrating and little productive.

In an attempt to be more objective and accurate, we see more and more organizations trying to define clear parameters to assess Potential. Development budgets are tight and being able to identify who are those high potentials in whom to invest, is more crucial than ever. Learning Agility is often selected as a cornerstone of the whole talent and potential identification process. But why?


- We now have enough historical background and research to correlate Learning Agility and future performance (potential). Korn Ferry has been at the source with the research initiated by Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger (who founded Lominger later acquired by Korn Ferry). From research and global experience, we know that high Learning Agility is one of the most reliable predictors of future leadership potential.

- Learning Agility can be developed and provides a good starting point for relevant development actions.  It is a blend of characteristics that can be further developed (certain traits or competencies) and more deeply ingrained elements (personality, values). As such, it helps not only identify the right development efforts but also define the ideal career track for the person. Discussions among stakeholders on talent are therefore richer and more substantiated.

- Learning Agility gives a broad perspective on Potential, both at an individual and organizational level. It helps identify both the ability and the readiness to deal with first-time situations. It explores areas such as mental, change, people and results agility as well as self-awareness. Each type of learning agility is also particularly relevant depending on thestrategic priorities of your organization. For example, if the focus of your strategy is on Innovation, Mental and Change Agility are key. Based on the aggregated results, you can then decide where to put the development priority or - if need be - what type of profiles you should recruit externally. This is further clarified in the publication around the Agile Enterprise (clear button where people can download the white paper).

We observe that companies use Learning Agility in combination with other parameters in order to complete the picture. But without a doubt, although this is no longer an entirely new concept, Learning Agility is on the agenda of an increasing number of smaller and bigger organizations. They simply cannot afford a rough guestimate of who the potentials are in their organization, or what their development efforts should consist of.


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Visit our webpage on Developing Learning Agility to learn more about agility or to download our whitepaper on the 7 essential signposts that indicate the likelihood of future success.


Source : Korn Ferry Hay Group Belgium/Luxembourg

Publié le 08 mai 2018