People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 21

inance (e.g., working for a leader who is high excitable, high
skeptical and high diligent all at the same time as measured
by the Hogan Development Survey can be quite challenging).
But what many fail to appreciate is that high-potential characteristics themselves can become negatives if you're not careful.
Impressive strengths can turn into derailers, and the X-factors
we describe here are no exception. For example, if you overuse situation sensing, you might be seen by your co-workers
and your boss as a sycophant without your own set of opinions
or worse as an untrustworthy person. Similarly, someone who
wants to impress others with their strength in complexity
translating might find themselves always correcting their
colleagues for making issues too complex. Inadvertently, this
behavior effectively shuts down discussions. As a result, the
high potential ends up being labeled as an arrogant know-itall. Those who are strong catalytic learners may find it hard
not to judge others who are less inclined to seek new knowledge and experiment with ideas. To safeguard against these
outcomes, the key is always to maintain a genuine openness to
feedback and responsiveness to acting upon it. It is important
to be highly observant about the cues, both formal and informal, regarding how you come across to others. And if you're
not getting the feedback you need to ask for it.

Conclusion

In the end, the real challenge is not only becoming a high
potential, but staying one. While demonstrated sustained performance over time is important, that is not the same thing
as demonstrating potential either (Church, 2015). Focusing
on building your skills against the five X-factors is what will
help get you there and keep you there. At the same time,
you must continue to build and adapt your leadership skills.
Never assume you've made it. The steep curve of the learning
challenges you'll encounter only increases as you climb in
your organization. We've witnessed talented individuals reach
the executive level and then lose their status before achieving
their ultimate career goal of becoming a senior vice president
or even a C-suite executive. They assumed that the requirement to earn their designations no longer applied. After all,
they had arrived. Others failed to grasp the new skills and
knowledge they needed to develop. Some didn't appreciate
that their coping mechanisms for keeping derailers in check
were no longer viable. In all these cases, people lost their
high potential designations because they stopped learning
in essential ways. They lost their ability to be versatile in their
behaviors and mindsets as they faced new and challenging
situations. The best way to avoid such outcomes is to cultivate
the continuous learning mindset required to stay a high-potential leader during your entire career.
So where do we go from here? For individuals who want
to improve their skills and climb the corporate ladder as
high-potentials, our advice is to focus on developing your
skills through continuous feedback and learning in all five of
the X-factors. Never take your foot off the pedal. For organizations seeking to identity and develop their highest potential
talent, we recommend the use of different formal assessment
tools such as 360-degree feedback, personality measures, cognitive tests, simulations etc. that together measure the various

underlying components of the X-factors (whether labeled that
way or not) based on valid measurement principles. We know
from research that no single tool or assessment will ever give
us the answer to the question of potential just as no single
individual will ever have all the necessary potential. Potential
is a complex and dynamic phenomena for individuals and
organizations, and we must always treat it that way!
Allan H. Church, Ph.D., is the senior vice president of Global
Talent Assessment and Development at PepsiCo, Inc. and a Fellow
of the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology. He can be
reached at allan.church@pepsico.com.
Jay A. Conger, DBA., is the Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership Studies, Claremont McKenna College. He can be reached at
jay.conger@cmc.edu.

References
Church, A. H. (2015). The pursuit of potential: Six things you need
to know about defining potential in your organization. Talent
Quarterly, #6, 29-35.
Church, A. H. (2014). What do we know about developing leadership potential? The role of OD in strategic talent management.
OD Practitioner, 46(3), 52-61.
Church, A. H. (1997). Managerial self-awareness in high performing individuals in organizations. Journal of Applied Psychology,
82(2), 281-292.
Church, A. H., & Rotolo, C. T. (2013). How are top companies
assessing their high-potentials and senior executives? A talent
management benchmark study. Consulting Psychology Journal:
Practice and Research, 65(3), 199-223.
Church, A. H., & Rotolo, C. T. (2016). Lifting the veil: What happens when you are transparent with people about their future
potential? People & Strategy, 39(4), 36-40.
Church, A. H., Rotolo, C. T., Ginther, N. M., & Levine, R. (2015).
How are top companies designing and managing their high-potential programs? A follow-up talent management benchmark
study. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 67(1),
17-47.
Church, A. H., & Silzer, R. (2014). Going behind the corporate
curtain with a Blueprint for Leadership Potential: An integrated
framework for identifying high-potential talent. People & Strategy, 36(4), 51-58.
Church, A. H. & Waclawski, J. (2010). Take the Pepsi Challenge: Talent development at PepsiCo. In R. Silzer & B. E. Dowell (Eds.).
Strategy-Driven Talent Management: A Leadership Imperative, SIOP
Professional Practice Series, 617-640, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.
Conger, J. A. and Church A. H. (2018) The High Potential's Advantage. Boston, Harvard Business School Press.
Ready, D. A., Conger, J. A. & Hill, L. A. (2010). "Are You a High-potential?" Harvard Business Review, 88, 78-84.
Silzer, R., & Church, A. H. (2009). The pearls and perils of identifying potential. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives
on Science and Practice, 2(4), 377-412.
Silzer, R. Church, A. H, Rotolo, C. T., & Scott, J. C. (2016). I-O
practice in action: Solving the leadership potential identification challenge in organizations. Industrial and Organizational
Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 9(4) 814-830.
VOLUME 41 | ISSUE 1 | WINTER 2018

21



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1

From The Executive Editor
From The Guest Editors
Perspectives
So You Want to Be a High-Potential?
How to Identify and Grow High Potentials: A CEO’s Perspective with Proven Results
Getting the Right People in the Hi-Po Pool
Wherefore Art Thou All Our Women High-Potentials?
Are Your HiPos Overrated?
Executive Roundtable
In First Person
Linking Theory + Practice
Insight into Action
Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Cover1
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Cover2
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 1
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 2
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 3
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - From The Executive Editor
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - From The Guest Editors
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 6
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 7
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Perspectives
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 9
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 10
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 11
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 12
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 13
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 14
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 15
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 16
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - So You Want to Be a High-Potential?
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 18
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 19
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 20
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 21
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - How to Identify and Grow High Potentials: A CEO’s Perspective with Proven Results
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 23
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 24
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 25
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 26
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 27
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Getting the Right People in the Hi-Po Pool
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 29
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 30
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 31
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Wherefore Art Thou All Our Women High-Potentials?
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 33
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 34
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 35
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 36
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 37
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Are Your HiPos Overrated?
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 39
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 40
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 41
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Executive Roundtable
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 43
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 44
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 45
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 46
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 47
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - In First Person
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 49
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Linking Theory + Practice
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 51
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 52
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 53
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Insight into Action
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 55
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 57
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 58
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Cover3
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_41_3_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_41_2_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_41_1_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_40_4_2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_40_3_2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_40_2_2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_40_1_2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_39_4_2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_39_3_2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_39_2_2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_39_1_2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_38_4_2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/d52272_hrps_summer2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/d49675_hrps_spring2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/d47867_hrps_winter2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_fall2014_teaser
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com