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Stop Promoting the Wrong People

Stop Promoting The Wrong People

What’s the difference between a successful promotion and a failure?

To answer that question, you have to take a hard look at your high-potential development program.

Even if you have a good way of identifying high potentials in your organization—using objective metrics, not manager recommendations, because research shows that managers get it wrong 60% of the time—you still may be missing a key piece of the puzzle.

Just because an employee has potential for success in leadership doesn’t mean they’re ready to step into a leadership role right now.

Usually, people are called high potential when they perform well in their current role. They bring in top sales. They receive high customer satisfaction scores. They’re enthusiastic about growth opportunities, and they impress their superiors with a “go get ‘em” attitude. But at the next level up, roughly 40% of these star performers will fail. Why? Because they’re not ready.

How do you know who’s ready and who’s not?

Looking at current performance is certainly an important factor. No one would suggest that you promote a low performer over a high performer. But what you need is more insight—a sneak peak of future performance before making the final promotion decision.

The best way to do this is with leadership simulation, which puts employees in real-life scenarios similar to what they would face in the new job. By role-playing challenges they would likely encounter at the next level up, employees are able to demonstrate their readiness for a more demanding role.

Not only do leadership simulations show you how employees work through scenarios in real time, they also measure three key drivers of success:

  • Leadership skills
  • Personality fit
  • Learning agility

It’s important to remember that leadership is a series of a transitions, and being successful at one level doesn’t guarantee success at the next level up. Positions at the executive level, for example, will require different skills and personality strengths than positions at the mid-manager level.

That’s where leadership simulation can continue to provide value as a selection and development tool all the way up the ladder. Having future-oriented metrics on leadership potential and readiness will help you break the cycle of bad promotion decisions and put you track to better succession planning.

Learn more

Check out this webcast on succession planning to see how you can layer data-driven strategies—including live virtual simulations—to predict future performance and fuel your strongest leadership pipeline yet.


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