Talent review – who’s on your bench

In our last article, Succession Planning – Why it matters to you, we discussed the business necessity of ensuring you have the right talent, at the right time, and in the right places. And, we outlined the steps in good succession planning, whether for your executive talent or for your key critical contributors.

This article discusses the 9-Box (or 9-Block) assessment tool, an important tool for assessing who’s on your bench.

For links to other articles in this series, see the introduction: Effective and Proactive Talent Management.

Performance and Potential Grid
The fundamental philosophy is to map individuals against two axes:  performance and potential. It becomes a simple scatter-plot chart across a spectrum of increasingly high performance and increasing greater potential. 

The tool then gives you a grid to help identify where to be making what types of investments in your people, and taking what types of actions:

Why use it?

  1. It’s a simple way to assess any group of people.
  2. It triggers great dialog among members of a leadership team
  3. The outcome of the group discussion is almost always a more accurate and complete assessment, and it builds a shared view of what is “good” versus “better” and what is “expected” versus “differentiating.”
  4. The process typically develops shared ownership and accountability for the talent pool in the organization
  5. It’s a great way to identify development needs and start development planning

Some Guiding Rules for best results
In designing and facilitating many of these assessments, we’ve found the following guiding principles to serve everyone well:

  1. All leaders participating must be committed to an open and candid conversation. A robust dialog, with questions from peers, must occur.
  2. The more well defined the competency model and performance criteria on which assessments are based, the better.
  3. Assessments should be grounded in actual examples of behaviors and outcomes, consistently demonstrated over time, that support the proposed assessments.
  4. The sponsoring leader should control the final decision, after robust questioning and comparison from peers.

We regularly work with clients to build their talent assessment and talent development programs. We work with each client to define a custom-defined 9-Box (or 9-Block) assessment tool that will give the most relevant assessment of talent for the client’s business. Then we generate robust conversation among leaders about the people on their bench: who is moving up, whom they should be developing, and who should be moving out. 

Let’s have a conversation about how we can work with you to plan the best possible results in your business and lower your risk of not having the right people in the right positions when you need them. And, lower your risk of keeping the wrong people.

For links to other articles in this series, see the introduction: Effective and Proactive Talent Management.


When employees drive your business success…
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