Real Leaders

The High-Potential Leader

Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash

The primary reason companies like Facebook, GE, and Netflix win today is the quality of their generals. Never before has it been more valuable to have or to become a high potential leader, one who can set the path and execute a winning plan in this digital age.

If a business leader has what it takes to someday lead a large organization, how can they take charge of their growth and acquire the necessary skills quickly? Alternatively, how can organizations identify and develop high potential leaders ahead of the competition?

The High Potential Leader: How to Grow Fast, Take on New Responsibilities, and Make an Impact (Wiley; March 13, 2017) is a timely blueprint for a new era of developing leadership talent that will change how companies compete and how professionals advance.

Written by world-renowned business advisor, author and speaker Ram Charan (pictured above), the book is certain to set the agenda for business as so many of his bestsellers have done. From Execution, (co-authored with Larry Bossidy, former CEO of Honeywell) which was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 150 weeks and defined the zeitgeist, to his most recent Attacker’s Advantage, which reached number one on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list and guides leaders through today’s increasing uncertainty.

“This is a time for leaders who can thrive in the face of relentless change, complexity, and uncertainly. Many companies have such leaders buried at lower levels. They need to find them, develop them, and find ways to use them to help the company adapt. ‘Born digital’ companies are on the prowl and will gladly poach whatever high-potential talent traditional companies overlook,” Charan explains. “The changes being wrought by things like digitization, algorithms, and data analytics will be as radical as the Industrial Revolution. We’ve already seen companies such as Google and Amazon cause revolutions in consumer behavior and reach the stratosphere in market value in record time. More of these are yet to come, led by people with the capability to conceive and grow them.”

Now that high potential leaders, or “HiPos,” are seen as a crucial source of an organization’s competitive advantage, their development can’t be left to their bosses alone. The old rules of HR and leadership development are being drastically overhauled when it comes to job promotions, hierarchies, retention strategies, rewards and the pace of moving people along the leadership track. New and more flexible practices are arising as well as new organizational problems and politics caused by younger high potentials managing older high seniority employees.

The rules for career advancement have changed as well, and Charan describes how true leaders can make exponential leaps in their capability and capacity and how to collaborate with employers on a customized development track. The book also advises professionals on how and when to make the right career move or recover from a wrong one. By exploring Five Traits of High Potential leaders, checklists, a self-test and a development guide, The High Potential Leader will put “HiPos” on the right path.

Charan adds, “Today’s high-potential leaders themselves shouldn’t just sit back and wait to be discovered. They should decide for themselves if they have what it takes to someday take a business unit, function, or the whole corporation to new heights, and make a plan to ready themselves to create the future.”


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