High Potential Leadership Development

Surprising Results from A New Study on How Organizations Manage Critical Programs for Future Leaders

WOOD DALE, Ill.--()--For CEOs and their senior management teams, programs designed for high potential leaders in their organization are seen as a crucial component to help alleviate the management shortage that many companies across all industries may soon face. However, a new study by RHR International and The Institute of Executive Development reveals some surprising results on how these programs are structured and managed. The study, High Potential Leadership Selection & Development, now contains data from over 50 organizations who have participated to date. Among the key findings:

  • 80% of respondents have high potential development programs
  • A third of those programs have been in place less than two years
  • 15% of respondents are in the process of designing programs
  • 5% of respondents are not planning to implement a program
  • Ability to develop others was the top skill desired of new leaders
  • Among respondents with programs older than two years, retention of high performers was cited as a key factor driving their focus
  • Respondents with programs for less than two years were more likely to select revenue growth or expansion into new markets
  • Senior executive commitment is one of the most critical success factors

For most organizations, developing high potential managers and leaders is a strategic imperative. Yet the data on issues such as the reason for the programs existence and the most desired skills of future leaders runs counter to some of the prevailing thoughts in the industry, commented Scott Saslow, The Institute of Executive Developments Executive Director.

Another unexpected element of the study is the fact that many organizations have not taken international issues into account in their high potential leadership development activities. 50% have not assessed if skills and competencies are different in various parts of the world and 44% have not considered how different types of development activities should be deployed for diverse populations of managers. Of those who did address the skill and competencies issue, 96% indicate that the skill sets required in different parts of the world are similar.

The survey data also reveals that the number and type of high potential development methods used depends on the maturity level of the companys program. For example, although mentoring is the method used most frequently by organizations currently designing high potential processes, several development methods (e.g., executive coaching, stretch assignments and increasing the scope of the high potentials current role) outrank mentoring for those companies with over five years of high potential process experience.

On the issue of program budgets (over the next three years):

  • 8% of respondents expect a funding decrease
  • 46% expect no change
  • 46% expect a funding increase
  • 15% of the total respondents expect annual increases of 10% or more

Results of this study to date indicate that many organizations, while aware of the need for cultivating the next generation of leaders, are still struggling with goals, methods and measurements, said Jeff Durocher, Vice President of Market Development for RHR International. This uncertainty may explain why many of our clients have asked us to assist them in creating their high potential development programs.

This benchmark study involves organizations from multiple industries such as: Aetna, Deloitte Consulting, Dow Jones, Hitachi, Kraft Foods, SUN Microsystems, and Wells Fargo. While the majority of companies taking part are from North America, some are based in Europe and Asia.

Individuals who would like to learn more about the full study or participate in the online benchmark at no charge may visit www.execsight.com/Benchmark. Respondents will have access to the summary data upon completion of the survey, which consists of 20 multiple choice questions.

The Institute of Executive Development delivers a unique service to executive development professionals by providing an unbiased source of information on the best practices and innovative ideas in executive development that improve their results. With over 5,000 individuals who use the service in more than 100 countries, the information and practices shared reflect global perspectives required by today's executive. More information is located at www.execsight.com.

RHR International Company is a world leader in executive and organizational development. For over 60 years they have been assisting senior management in the areas of executive integration, high potential development, succession planning, team building, talent management, executive coaching and board effectiveness. RHR International has offices in Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. The company is headquartered in Wood Dale, Ill. For more information or to explore career opportunities with RHR International, please visit our Web site at www.rhrinternational.com.


RHR International
Jeff Durocher
(630) 766-7007


RHR International
Jeff Durocher
(630) 766-7007