Topgrading Leadership Assessment and Development

Promotion Assessment

Our research shows that, incredibly, most companies are just as likely to be disappointed with someone they promote as they are with someone they hire.  We’ve found that only about 25% of people promoted turn out to be A players in jobs with significantly increased responsibility!

The reasons are understandable: too much weight is put on the person’s performance in the current role and too much stock is put in the current manager’s opinion of that person.  It’s tough to be completely objective about someone who has been a loyal high performer.

The Topgrading methods for promotion are almost identical to the methods for hiring. – Job Scorecard, Topgrading Interview, co-worker “references,” report, and thorough Individual Development Plan.

We tweak the assessment processes for internal candidates, adding discussions with bosses, peers, and subordinates who are in the company rather than outside the company.  All internal candidates are given thorough feedback and they create an Individual Development Plan. (IDP).

In addition to using Topgrading to assess candidates for promotion, there are additional uses for Topgrading to be used internally:

Team Assessment

An outdated practice is for a new manager NOT to look at performance appraisals of the team inherited, because, “I don’t want to be biased by the previous manager.  Everyone has a clean slate.”  Nonsense!  The new manager can get extremely thorough, accurate, and highly credible assessments of the team within a couple of months , and everyone on the team will have an Individual Development Plan to accelerate growth right away. Instead of waiting a year to figure out who should go or stay and the best job for each person, the new manager can have that information within months.

Executive Assessment and Coaching

Topgrading Professionals assess candidates for hire to senior level positions, where mis-hires are extremely costly in time and money.  Topgrading Professionals also assess and coach internal managers at the senior level using the Topgrading Interview, which is followed by interviews with subordinates, peers, and higher-level managers along with an online survey.  Topgrading Professionals also interview lower level candidates (e.g., store manager) when the company does not have sufficient managers to conduct Topgrading Interviews.

After this assessment, managers receive the most thorough, constructive, and credible coaching of their career.  Individual Development Plans (IDPs) in most companies amount to one or two activities agreed on at the end of a performance review (e.g., “Attend a seminar on negotiations.”).  The IDP emerging from Topgrading typically includes 12-15 activities to maximize strengths and minimize weaker points.  The IDP is written by the manager after receiving feedback and coaching from the Topgrading Professional, and finalized with the approval of the executive’s manager and Human Resources.  Every activity statement contains What is to be done, Why, When, and How the results will be measured.

Typical engagements are:

  • Succession Planning. The CEO and/or board changes company strategy, which will require a different organization, with some different jobs. We assess and coach internal and external candidates for those jobs and help high potential managers create IDPs to assure that they will succeed.
  • Identification of High Potential Managers. Aside from a focus on a succession plan, the vast experience of Topgrading Professionals helps companies identify and develop future leaders.

Topgrading is an extremely thorough and credible process.  The manager and Topgrading Professional develop a solid bond of trust, as though they are next-door neighbors and the Topgrading Professional is totally devoted to helping the manager maximize their growth and happiness.

It is common for participants to say that they found our assessment and coaching process the most useful professional development activity in their career.