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 Workshop 5

Reaching for the Stars: Building High Potential Talent Programs for Organizational Advantage 

Presenters:  Rob Silzer, HR Assessment and Development Inc./ Baruch College, CUNY, Sandra Davis, MDA Leadership Consulting, and Jeff McHenry, Microsoft Corporation
Coordinator:  Paul Yost, Seattle Pacific University
Target Audience: Seasoned professionals who are working with high potential individuals or who are developing a high potential talent program

Organizations have a strategic interest in ensuring that the right talent is available to deliver on future business objectives. In order to successfully build and manage the talent that is needed, many organizations are identifying and developing high potential talent earlier in their careers. For some organizations, this has evolved into more formal high potential talent programs that are designed to identify individuals with the potential and the motivation to benefit from accelerated development and to advance to senior organizational roles.

Identifying and developing high potential talent in an organization requires addressing a number of difficult questions for both the professional and the organization, such as:
a) What do we mean by high potential talent?
b) Potential for what? 
c) What is the strategic benefit for the organization? 
d) How do we identify and assess individuals for high potential? 
e) How can we further develop individuals identified as high potential talent? 
f) What organizational outcomes can we expect from the program? 
g) How can you measure your success?

As a result of attending this session participants will be able to:

  • Define high potential talent in the context of an organization’s strategy
  • Identify key decisions and steps in designing and implementing a high potential program
  • Describe traditional and alternative approaches to identifying, assessing, and developing high potential talent
  • Anticipate and address common problems faced in managing a high potential program
  • Identify ways to evaluate the effectiveness of a high potential program

Rob Silzer is Managing Director, HR Assessment & Development Inc. and is on the I/O Psychology Doctoral Faculty at Baruch, City University of New York and the graduate faculty of Baruch, Singapore. He has 30 years of professional experience in developing and implementing successful leadership/executive assessment, coaching and development, talent management, and high potential talent approaches in over 150 organizations. Rob has published many professional articles, chapters, and books and made numerous professional presentations. His most recent SIOP book with Ben Dowell is Strategy-Driven Talent Management (2010,) and he recently wrote a seminal article on high potential talent with Allan Church (IOP, 2009). He has delivered numerous successful SIOP workshops on assessment, development, leadership, and executives. Rob is a Fellow of SIOP, APA, APS, and Division 13 –Consulting psychology. He holds a PhD in I-O Psychology from the University of Minnesota. Rob is an active world adventurer who has camped, trekked, and kayaked on all seven continents, most recently in Antarctica.

Sandra Davis is Chief Executive Officer of MDA Leadership Consulting, a talent management and leadership development firm. She co-founded the company in 1981, and focuses her consulting work on senior executive evaluation, development, coaching, and assessment. Widely known as an executive coach and thought leader in the industry with numerous Fortune 500 companies among her clients, she has contributed chapters and articles in professional books and journals related to assessment, leadership development, coaching, and succession. Sandra served on the Strong Interest Inventory Advisory panel for Consulting Psychologists Press; her book, Reinventing Yourself, was based on her expertise in the practical use of tests. As a CEO selection and succession planning expert, she has demonstrated remarkable insight into the potential and fit of senior executives. She is a member of the American Psychological Association and a Fellow of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Sandra earned her BS from Iowa State University and her PhD in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Jeff McHenry is a Principal at Rainier Leadership Solutions. Prior to joining Rainer Leadership Solutions, he was the General Manager, Leadership Development & Recruiting at Microsoft Corporation, where he was responsible for executive recruiting and talent management, leadership and high potential development, and organizational development for the entire Corporation. During his time in this role, Microsoft won several prestigious awards for leadership development, including a 2011 Top 20 Companies for Leadership award in from the Hay Group, a 2011 Best Practice Award from the European Foundation for Management Development, and a 2010 Action Learning Organization Award from the World Institute for Action Learning. He held a variety of leadership and organization development roles over the course of his 18-year Microsoft career, and has deep expertise in coaching and developing senior leaders, high-potential development, succession planning, and business-driven transformational change. Prior to joining Microsoft in 1993, Jeff was a research consultant at both Personnel Decisions Research Institute and the American Institutes for Research, a manager in the Human Resource Research group at Allstate Insurance, and taught human resources and organizational behavior at George Washington University and Seattle Pacific University. Jeff received a BA with Honors from Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a PhD in psychology from the University of Minnesota. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology. He served as the Society’s President from 2006-2007.