Article: What do HiPos need to do to thrive in the Digital Age?

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What do HiPos need to do to thrive in the Digital Age?


Here are a few action steps that would support HiPos in their journey at work
What do HiPos need to do to thrive in the Digital Age?

There is enough literature available on how to manage HiPos, Competencies required for HiPos to be successful and how to engage HiPos and on and on. 

However, most of the literature that I came across gives a rich and diverse perspective from the organization’s point of view or from the HR’s lens. This got me thinking… what does all of this mean for a HiPo?

The perspective I am sharing is through the lens of a HiPo. I was fortunate enough to get selected for a very robust HiPo program at ManpowerGroup at a global level called the Emerging Leader Experience (ELE). Typically, once you are identified as a HiPo in an organization there are multiple programs that one goes through; like stretch assignments, exposure to top executives of the firm, management courses etc. Sometimes a HiPo might get lost in this journey when the stretch is too much or when there is a lean period in between. Some of the things that a HiPo could practice or keep in mind, which I practice or keep in mind in today’s fast-paced Digital Age, are:

  • Self-motivation – Drive, and self-motivation are the bedrock for a HiPo. There are times when the outlook is not very clear or the stretch is just too much. This is the time when your inner drive keeps you going. One needs to focus on the long term. 

  • Self-learning – One of the biggest myth of the corporate world is that learning and development are the responsibility of the organizations. Well, it is not. I am responsible for my development! The best thing in today’s Digital Age is that learning is Free and it is at your fingertips. One could log on to Twitter, attend free webinars or Podcasts. A whole world of free learning and exposure opens up. 

  • Exposure – It is very important to get exposed to different thought processes and at times its good for the soul. It gets you inspired. Today, it is very easy to get connected to thought leaders on social media and get to know their stories, thoughts, and perspectives. Social media is also a great channel to share your thoughts with these leaders and exchange points of view, which might not have been possible in the past. 

  • Try new things – Organizations today are more open to innovation than ever before. Seize this opportunity and go for it. If you have a great idea, share it with the decision makers and influencers and once you get the go ahead take it to the logical conclusion. Taking it to a logical conclusion is even more important than coming up with the idea. If you fail it will be a great learning and if you succeed it can be a game changer. 

  • Don’t go for titles go for roles – As soon as an employee gets identified as a HiPo, a thought that many get is that now he/she is going to move up the titles of the corporate ladder real fast. Well, it’s not about titles as much as it is about the role. Don’t get fixated on titles in your organization or outside. Try to focus to get a role that is meaty and would add value to the organization and your experience.

  • Move out of the comfort zone – Try to get roles/ projects which put you out of the comfort zone and get you into the uncharted territory. This will uncover the real areas for development for you, which you can address and become a better professional. For the real steel to come out one has to put it through the furnace. 

  • Collaborate and Build super teams – The glow of your talent should shine on all! It’s not just about you but also the colleagues that you work with. It very important for a HiPo to collaborate and build A-teams.  More often than not, the top talent will gravitate towards you and it is important to groom this top talent and build super teams. Some of this top talent would go on to become HiPos themselves. It would also provide you with experience in managing and building Alpha teams, which would become even more important as your roles and responsibilities become larger. 

For a HiPo, it is very important to understand that it’s not just about you; there is more to it. I have seen many HiPos in organizations, who jump ships often. Nothing against moving for the right role and organization, but it is also very important to align with a purpose. The purpose could be anything; to build your team and help them succeed, to build your organization and drive it to achieve its vision or to create conditions to help the society at large.  

Image Source: Al Rasub

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Topics: Technology, #HIPO, #HiPoWeek

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