Leadership development programs aimed at rising stars have become a staple of most large organizations.  Here in Shanghai I see this in the people practices of global multinational companies, whether American, European, or Asian.

Most people acknowledge that the top talent is where you can have a great impact on business results, either in a positive or negative way depending on how you manage it.

An article in Harvard Business Review by Jean Martin and Conrad Schmidt shed some interesting light on the topic.
What I have found surprising in my own experience is that despite the effort, money and time being spent, the results are often lackluster, at least initially.  Maybe our expectations timeline is too short.

Here are some ideas about what works and what doesn’t in developing your top talent.  This came from research in more than 100 organizations worldwide over 2005-2011, which clearly has been tumultuous time in the global economy.

10 Critical Components of a Talent-Development Program

1. Explicitly test candidates in three dimensions: ability, engagement, and aspiration.

2. Emphasize future competencies needed (derived from corporate-level growth plans) more heavily than current performance when you’re choosing employees for development.

3. Manage the quantity and quality of high potentials at the corporate level, as a portfolio of scarce growth assets.

4. Forget rote functional or business-unit rotations; place young leaders in intense assignments with precisely described development challenges.

5. Identify the riskiest, most challenging positions across the company, and assign them directly to rising stars.

6. Create individual development plans; link personal objectives to the company’s plans for growth, rather than to generic competency models.

7. Reevaluate top talent annually for possible changes in ability, engagement, and aspiration levels.

8. Offer significantly differentiated compensation and recognition to star employees.

9. Hold regular, open dialogues between high potentials and program managers, to monitor star employees’ development and satisfaction.

10. Replace broadcast communications about the company’s strategy with individualized messages for emerging leaders—with an emphasis on how their development fits into the company’s plans.

If you want to read more, you can find the detail here.  What have you found in your own organization?
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