This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

March 1, 2017

Companies Challenged to Identify HIPOs

A HIPO is a High-Potential employee, usually defined as “top talent” or an employee in the top 5 percent of team members in an organization. The most highly valued, these folks are considered an organization's most capable, most motivated, and most likely to grow into positions of responsibility and power. To support the preparation of these employees for leadership roles, companies often establish formal fast-track programs for these HIPOs.

A high percentage of identified HIPOs programs
In spite of these facts, according to data from Zenger and Folkman, more than 40 percent of individuals in HIPO programs may not belong there. They collected information on almost 2000 employees and on average, each leader had been given 360-degree feedback from 13 assessors. Their previous work had demonstrated that this assessment technique was "highly correlated with organizational outcomes such as employee engagement, lower turnover, and higher productivity". The better the leader scored, the better the outcomes.

Surprising results
When Zenger and Folkman looked at the participants in the HIPO programs, an unexpected 12 percent were in their organization's bottom quartile of leadership effectiveness. Moreover, 42 percent were even below average---clearly fewer than expected of the top 5 percent.

The problem is clear
It's all about how the HIPOs were chosen. In fact, they possessed four characteristics: technical and professional expertise, taking initiative and delivering results, and fitting in to the culture of the organization. The major program was not the criteria used, but rather the criteria overlooked. The researchers found that the underperforming HIPOs were especially lacking in two skills: strategic vision and ability to motivate others. Obviously, the consultants' advice is to look for people who have these skills and focus a bit less on cultural fit. and individual results.

What the future holds
For years, organizations have relied on their HIPO and fast-track programs to prepare the next generation of leaders. In the future, wise executives will fine-tune their HIPO programs to better identify those who will be their best leaders. New technologies, including assessments and probably using Artificial Intelligence will support this process; as we have seen in other examples lately, machine decisions are better at removing all kinds of biases and therefore making the best decisions for the organization.

Special thanks to Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman for their research into this important subject.

© Copyright 1998- by The Herman Group, Inc. -- reproduction for publication is encouraged, with the following attribution: From "The Herman Trend Alert," by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. 336-210-3548 or To sign up, visit The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group, Inc."

Our author Joyce gets quoted in TIME Magazine and other national media on a regular basis. You can, too! Sign up for You will be found by the news media and in Google search: 1. Through your personal search-engine-optimized press room by 39 topics you choose; 2. By news releases pushed out 10 ways including Google News; 3. Be found in the 2020 printed Yearbook of Experts, Authorities & Spokespersons. Save 15% when you register by October 31st @

The Association of Professional Futurists proudly presents its annual online learning experiences on Full Spectrum Futures. Network with leading futurists from all over the world. And best of all, it's free to attend, though contributions are encouraged to help defray costs. For more information, visit here.

Excellent translation services from English, French, or German into Spanish. Especially well-versed in medicine/pharma and automobile industries. 5-year Bachelor Degree in Translation. Also editing and proofreading of all kinds of Spanish language documents. Flexible rates, depending on number of words, degree of difficulty/technicality, and turnaround. For an instant quote email Mariana Campora Lesti at or contact her on SKYPE at marianacampora.

To read this Herman Trend Alert on the web:

Herman Trend Alerts are produced by the Herman Group, strategic business futurists, Certified Management Consultants, authors, and professional speakers.

New subscribers are always welcome. There is no charge for this public service. The Herman Trend Alert is read by over 30,000 people in 90 countries, including other websites and printed periodicals. Click here to sign up for the Herman Trend Alert.

Do you enjoy receiving this weekly e-mail update? Contact us about our co-branded Herman Trend Alert service.

Subscribe or Unsubscribe to weekly Herman Trend Alert
View this week's Herman Trend Alert
Archived Weekly Herman Trend Alerts


[ HomeAboutProductsResourcesMedia ]


7112 Viridian Lane
Austin, TX 78739
Voice: 336-210-3548
Toll Free in US & Canada: 800-227-3566

  © The Herman Group. All rights reserved.

Web site design by WebEditor Design Services, Inc.