Les Echos: “High potential” is dead, long live the intrapreneurs!
All businesses try to identify the most promising talents, those “who excel at their jobs and missions, and those who have the potential to rapidly develop new, even more complex skills, while maintaining that excellence.”
These profiles are oftentimes called “high potential”. They’re the leaders of tomorrow, the company elite. They generally represent roughly 2% of the company’s employees. Today, we put a large emphasis on identifying them, developing them and retaining them, as well as providing the means for doing so.
Each business thus puts in place techniques, evaluation criteria, and simulations to find those “high potentials,” as well as developing personalized support programs that help this talent to achieve high-flying, varied and fulfilling careers. At the same time, the reality of today’s economy is completely different. The speed and strength of the digital economy is turning the world, its major players, and everyone in it upside down. And transformation at this speed is bringing with it numerous significant changes.
The Big Corporation will disappear. It will become a multitude of agile autonomous entities, teaching those who are grouped around the extended company. These entities will share the same values, pool their resources, and allow for the free movement of talent. We won’t just construct a career, we’ll consume it. Whatever the position or status, the labor force wants to be able to freely and quickly evolve among jobs and organizations. A skill is no longer a possession, but it is rather invented and constructed through the experiences and practices of each of us. The economy is reinventing itself too quickly and too constantly for tomorrow’s needed occupations and skills to be clearly foreseen. Those occupations and skills of tomorrow don’t exist today, and what’s more 50% of the skills of salaried workers won’t be essential in 2 years. No one person will be more justified than another in taking over a new position or working in a new sector. In this context, it is appropriate to bet on those who not only excel in their tasks and skills, but who also have the potential of developing them quickly and applying those abilities to other more complex missions.
This new context opens the door to many opportunities, it reshuffles the cards and provides opportunities for anyone who wishes to play a role in this new economy. It is no longer enough to find those who are skilled in their current jobs, but one must instead search for those who are capable of evolving in an unknown, unpredictable, and constantly moving landscape. This means looking for those who don’t need to have their tasks and missions perfectly defined, but who are instead able to wear many hats, and reinvent their career in the absence of well-
defined limits and to similarly see no limits in their ability to learn new things.
This new workforce must be able to adapt, be transversal, and never be halted by any barriers. It will be a hybrid and agile group. It is, in essence, a group that is able to bring entrepreneurship to bear inside the company.
High potential is dead - long live the intrapreneurs!