viaPeople Insight - Performance Management & Succession Planning Blog

Identifying and Removing Blockers Using the 9 Box Grid

Jun 4, 2014 2:20:00 PM / by Karen Caruso, Ph.D. posted in Succession Planning, High Potentials, 9 Box

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What is a Blocker?

A blocker is an employee who is preventing or “blocking” others from moving into a key position. Key positions serve as critical steps in a career path or offer a unique set of developmental experiences required for other roles in the organization. Companies should seek to fill key positions with high performing, high potential employees. We use the term blocker to describe individuals who are performing at or above expectations in a key position however they do not want to move out of the role for a variety of reasons. The individual may enjoy the role, may not have a desire to work additional hours or relocate, or do not have an interest in learning new skills and taking on additional responsibilities. The lack of desire to take on a new role or move to a new position limits their future potential, as well as the potential of others in the organization.

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Potential Confusion.....in the Talent Review Process

Aug 5, 2012 10:53:00 AM / by Karen N. Caruso, Ph.D. posted in Succession Planning, Talent Management, 9 Box

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The Talent Review process critical component of Succession Planning and Talent Management. Talent Review provides an opportunity for a leadership team to get together and discuss the performance and potential of the talent pool.  Organizations frequently use a variation of the 9 box grid as a tool to facilitate discussion and make talent decisions. The 9 box is a simple, yet powerful, tool to facilitate Talent Review discussions.  

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Limited Potential Does Not Limit Options - Use the 9 Box to Develop Talent in Succession Planning

Jul 24, 2012 12:28:00 PM / by Karen Caruso, Ph.D. posted in Succession Planning, Talent Management, High Potentials, 9 Box

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Use the 9 Box to Develop Talent in Succession Planning, Part 3:  Development Actions for Those with Low Potential

In the final installment of Use the 9 Box to Develop Talent I address the specific needs of individuals who demonstrate low potential.

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Developing Future Promise - Use the 9 Box to Develop Talent in Succession Planning

May 14, 2012 10:31:00 AM / by Karen N. Caruso, Ph.D. posted in Succession Planning, High Potentials, 9 Box

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Use the 9 Box to Develop Talent in Succession Planning, Part 2:  Developing those with Future Promise

In Part 1 of Use the 9 Box to Develop Talent in Succession Planning: Development at the Top, I outlined a set of recommendations for development individuals who have been identified as having high potential - those individuals who would be placed in the top row of the 9 box grid. In this installment, I will examine those in the center - individuals who have demonstrated some future promise and have been deemed as having a moderate level of potential. Talent development as part of the succession planning process must be individualized to meet the unique needs of each leader.

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Development at the Top - Use the 9 Box to Develop Talent in Succession Planning

Apr 12, 2012 11:58:00 AM / by Karen Caruso, Ph.D. posted in Succession Planning, Talent Management, High Potentials, 9 Box

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Use the 9 Box to Develop Talent in Succession Planning, Part 1:  Development at the Top 

My colleagues and I have written about the usefulness of the 9 box grid in the succession planning process.  The structure and visual appeal of the 3 x 3 grid can help leaders evaluate talent in the Talent Assessment process, as well as guide Talent Review discussions. The usefulness of the 9 box grid extends beyond these first two phases of the succession planning process, providing guidance and direction to Talent Planning and on-going Talent Development.

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The Succession Planning 9 Box: A Powerful Tool To Be Used Wisely

Mar 27, 2012 7:39:00 AM / by Leah Groehler posted in Succession Planning, 9 Box

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As Succession Planning processes become more common in organizations today, HR teams are using a popular method for identifying and classifying talent: The 9 Box chart. The 9 Box chart is a matrix which contains employees categorized by two variables (their performance ranking and their potential for advancement).

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Award Season is Like Succession Planning for the Rich and Famous

Feb 23, 2012 8:37:00 PM / by Karen N. Caruso, Ph.D. posted in Succession Planning, 9 Box

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The Academy Awards are just a few days away and I have to admit that I am excited….primarily because of the fashion. I admit that I have not seen a movie in an actual theatre in at least three years and have only seen one current movie this year (Bridesmaids). Nonetheless, the Oscars mark the end of award season in Hollywood.  All of the rich and famous can start eating again.  The winners can bask in the glory of their stardom and wait for the scripts and high salaries to roll in.

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Succession Planning: Living the 9 Box Dream

Nov 21, 2011 2:28:00 PM / by Amanda Seidler posted in Succession Planning, High Potentials, 9 Box

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Our goals are ambitious. We envision choosing the salmon but substitute the steak; we aim for the bubble bath but settle for the shower; we even think someday we might make it to Inbox = 0.  The truth is, everyday just doesn’t look the way it does in our dreams. That’s not to say we never meet our goals. On the contrary, our objectives are quite often met when we have a realistic target in mind and a specific path for achievement.

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Is it a Secret? Communicating Hi-Po Status in Succession Planning.

Jun 17, 2011 1:30:00 PM / by Leah Groehler posted in Succession Planning, Talent Management, High Potentials, 9 Box

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Whether or not to communicate a leader’s “high-potential” status, as identified through the succession planning process, is one of our clients’ most frequently-asked questions. There are many valid reasons for apprehension here:

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Power Saw or Utility Knife: What kind of tool is your 9 Box?

Apr 20, 2011 3:50:00 PM / by Karen N. Caruso, Ph.D. posted in Succession Planning, High Potentials, 9 Box

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Recent discussions with several senior HR leaders and consulting partners has caused me to have a bit of concern about the use of the 9 box in the talent review and succession planning process.  The 9 box can be a dynamic tool in driving the assessment and development of leaders.  However, many organizations are using it in limited ways. Think about your answer to these questions:
  • Is the 9 box chart in your company just a basic tool like the utility knife to help identify high potentials? or
  • Is the 9 box chart a power saw that helps your company cut through subjectivity and drive the development of future leaders?
The 9 box chart or talent grid is a commonly used tool for examining talent within the organization and making talent decisions.  The 9 box provides perspective or a way of looking at the relationship between the performance of individuals and their potential for the future.  The placement of individuals in the 9 box chart is determined by ratings of performance and potential – both based upon a 3 point scale (i.e., Low, Moderate, High).
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