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Why HIPO Development?

To ensure the sustainable success of an organization, identifying and nurturing High-Potential (HIPO) employees is critical. Countless studies have made it clear: when companies put more effort into finding and developing their top talent, they often enjoy better financial results. (HBR) The initial and most vital decision to address in this context is answering the question: “the potential for what?”. Most of the HIPO development programs center on individual career advancement but that alone does not guarantee they will be drivers of organizational performance. Some organizational leaders, who have undeniably achieved individual success by reaching the top, do not positively impact their teams and organizations. Instead, HIPO initiatives should be geared towards identifying individuals likely to play a pivotal role in enhancing organizational performance. These are individuals who have potential to excel in leadership roles, drive innovation, and foster growth within the company.  


The GROWTH Principles of HIPO Development 


Two-thirds of companies invest in HIPO programs, yet only a quarter of senior executives see them as successful. (Corporate Executive Board (CEB))


To help your top talent thrive, our GROWTH Principles are designed to guide your approach to HIPO development. These principles illustrate a holistic approach that goes beyond just acquiring skills, emphasizing personal growth, support, accountability, and practical steps. Keeping these principles in mind will help ensure your HIPO programs are successful.

Growth Mindset 

The first principle that underpins HIPO development is the Growth Mindset. It’s essential to prioritize mindset before skill development. Instead of focusing solely on acquiring a breadth of new skills and capabilities (what is considered horizontal development), individuals and organizations must elevate the importance of shifting their thinking and increasing the depth of their self-awareness (vertical development). Adopting a Growth Mindset involves embracing challenges, persisting in the face of setbacks, and seeing effort as a path to mastery. Cultivating continuous learning and adaptability equips HIPOs to overcome obstacles and fulfill their potential.

Reinforce Support 

Support and encouragement play a crucial role in HIPO development. Nurturing a supportive environment that models a growth mindset not only boosts the morale of high-potential employees but also prioritizes their overall well-being. HIPOs should feel empowered to ask for help, voice their concerns, share their failures and receive guidance when needed. A solid support system helps HIPOs tackle leadership challenges and maintain their mental and emotional well-being.

Own Accountability 

In the realm of HIPO development, shared accountability is key. It’s not just the responsibility of the organization to foster growth; HIPOs must take ownership of their development individually, with their cohort, and alongside their managers. Embracing accountability empowers HIPOs to pursue personal and professional goals while aligning with the organization’s mission and values.

Whole Person Development 

HIPOs are not just professionals; they are multifaceted individuals with personal lives, dreams, and aspirations outside of work. They should be encouraged to show up as their whole selves, their authentic selves – masks off – so that there is congruency between the person they are at home and the one they are at work. Balancing personal and professional life and selves is crucial for maintaining mental, social and emotional well-being. Organizations should encourage HIPOs to find harmony in their lives and provide the flexibility needed to achieve it. 

Take Practical Steps 

Taking practical steps urges HIPOs to transition from theory to action, asking, “So what, now what?”. Setting goals and crafting a roadmap for success are essential. Practical steps enable HIPOs to translate their aspirations into reality, turning ideas into tangible results. 

Harness Voluntary Engagement 

Engagement is most effective when it is voluntary and enthusiastic. Encouraging HIPOs to willingly opt in rather than mandating their involvement fosters genuine commitment and enthusiasm. When HIPOs are excited about their development and are given the autonomy to choose their growth path, their progress is likely to be more fruitful and sustainable. 



We know that developing and retaining HIPOs is essential for an organization’s long-term success. By prioritizing the well-being and personal growth of HIPOs through the GROWTH Principles of HIPO Development by focusing on mindset, support, accountability, and practical action, organizations can create an environment where their high-potential employees can truly thrive. In doing so, they can harness the full potential of their most valuable assets and drive innovation and growth for years to come. 


Want to learn more about how we can support the growth of your HIPOs? Let’s connect.