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The Pearls and Perils of Identifying Potential

  • Rob Silzer (a1) and Allan H. Church (a2)
Abstract

Organizations today are increasingly focused on talent as a strategic asset and a competitive advantage for achieving business success. As a result, most major organizations have recognized the need for and outlined a formal process to identify and assess high-potential talent. There is, however, little agreement within or between organizations on the definition and components of the concept of potential. The existing definitions and models of potential are often narrowly focused on only a few select factors and give little attention to the broad spectrum of potential talent in an organization. This article introduces a new integrated model of potential that incorporates previous literature and current assessment practice regarding high potentials, provides a coherent structure of potential, and is reflective of a variety of different talent pools. The model provides a useful method for answering the key question—Potential for what? Three key components of potential are described by the model: (a) foundational dimensions, (b) growth dimensions, and (c) career dimensions. Implications for assisting organizations in more effectively managing their high potential talent for strategic business objectives are discussed.

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Corresponding author
E-mail: robsilzer@prodigy.net, Address: HR Assessment & Development and Baruch College/CUNY, 14 West 11th Street, New York, NY, 10011
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Industrial and Organizational Psychology
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