Head of the Class

Getting your managers and peers to see you as a high-potential employee

The task of executing a new global marketing plan is a huge one. When a manager at a high-tech firm received lukewarm feedback on what she thought was great progress, she realized that her boss just didn't grasp the difficulty of her job. She knew that she needed to be more proactive about furthering her own career, and she began talking to her boss, and others, about the effort it took to engage people from different regions for her program. Soon, the high value of her contribution became known.

Executive development programs are still around, but sometimes employees need to sell their way into those programs. If you think you're a diamond in the rough, here's how to make the cut.


Do You Have What It Takes?

If your boss notices your dedication and talent and rewards you with special opportunities for learning and advancement, it is likely that you've been identified as high potential (HiPo). Susan Gebelein, executive vice president of client relationship management for Personnel Decisions International, a consulting firm that specializes in building leadership talent, says that employers are generally evaluating employees in four different areas:

  • Talent. Your performance and the results you've achieved are assessed. What you do and how you do it are the focus.
  • Potential. This can include everything from behavioral and psychological testing to cognitive tests.
  • Readiness. The trickiest of all the assessments. You may manage one business unit brilliantly, but it doesn't automatically mean that you're ready to have five business units reporting to you. Smart companies invest in role-playing and other simulation testing to determine just how well you'll perform under different kinds of pressures.
  • Fit. Congratulations—you're the prime candidate for a country manager position in Brazil . . . but you don't speak Portuguese, and you don't want to move.


Get Tapped for HiPo

Everything starts with performance. Look at yours: are you satisfied with your performance reviews? Does your manager know about all you do to create the results you deliver? If not, it's time to speak up.

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