High-potentials want to be involved in planning their development, not dictated to. Often, they‘re presented with assignments knowing that if they decline or hesitate, they will be left behind. “Historically, the interaction has been a transaction—‗You do this, and we‘ll give you that,‘ ” Smith says. “Now, in best-practice situations, it‘s becoming more about mutuality and reciprocity. It‘s a dialogue where interests on both sides are balanced.”
The dialogue occurs around the time that the high-potential‘s performance is assessed, but sometimes in separate discussions. At Fifth Third Bancorp, for example, development
discussions are separate from performance review discussions. Yet development discussions are not viewed as once-a-year or twice-a-year events. “It‘s a continuous journey to match organization needs with personal aspirations,” says Lauris Woolford, executive vice president of organization development and planning at the Cincinnati bank.
General Mills represents another case in point. There‘s a conversation that is driven by the employer. “We‘re leading the way,” says Mike Davis, senior vice president of global HR, based in Minneapolis. “We know the experiences our high-potentials need to grow and flourish probably better than they do. Still, if we say, ‗The next best opportunity is in Japan‘ and the person says, ‗I don‘t want to go to Japan,‘ we scrap the plan and find another assignment.”