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Could your LoPo team member actually be a HiPo team member?

Jan 12, 2023
By: Tom Cox

The term high-potential (HiPo) team member describes those poised for increasingly responsible roles in an organization as a leader of others (or leader of leaders). But team members who are (perhaps unfairly) labeled low potential (LoPo) might very well become HiPo team members with your vision, coaching and understanding.

Here are four points to remember when evaluating potential:

1. Just about everyone is a LoPo team member when they’re early in their new role.

If your team member has been stretched properly, they won’t be living up to the expectations of a new role for some time. Often it takes six months to a year to get up to speed. Don’t immediately dismiss them as failing if it is taking them a bit of time to get the hang of their new position.

If you can see that effort is being made, you should continue to coach and develop them.

2. Not everyone will be a rock star in their current role.  

Even if it’s that’s the case, you may want to keep them on as a contributor. Why? While most employees may not be poised to take over the company someday, they deserve and should get our best coaching and development.

And let’s face it, they could be critical players, and perhaps even more critical than a high-flyer who may move on and create a gap.

Additionally, employees should be positively challenged to grow in their present roles and create more impact.

3. True LoPo team members won’t stick around long. 

While all team members should have the benefit of your best leadership, coaching and development, for whatever reason it may not result in any meaningful change. It shouldn’t take too long to tell. Focus on the potential of those that do stick around.

Just because individuals are not moving up the ranks rapidly or do not demonstrate the need (or ability) to jump from company to company to advance their careers does not mean they shouldn’t receive our best as leaders.

4. Have you done all you can?

If you really think someone is a LoPo team member, ask yourself if you have done everything you can to develop them in accordance with their strengths. If you haven’t done everything possible, then give some development of that person a shot, and they may surprise you. If not, you still will have helped them find a better path.

How Wipfli can help

Wipfli’s leadership development programs help leaders at every level cultivate a leadership mindset that empowers others to thrive. Learn more about how we help clients with people, process and strategy on our organizational performance consulting web page.

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