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Finding the “Keepers” in Your Organization

April 9, 2013

Before every NFL season, thousands of fans gather in groups to "draft" their fantasy football teams. Many spend hours poring over data and statistics to try to pick who they think will be the best statistical performers in the coming season. So popular is the challenge of diagnosing potential in football players, that there are ESPN programs, magazines, and websites totally devoted to helping you with your picks. There’s even a TV series, "The League,” about a group of rabid fantasy football buddies and the hunt each season for the cherished league trophy. These judgments of which players will perform in the coming season are incredibly difficult, even for the most talented scouts and recruiters.

Take the case of the 1998 NFL draft, which featured Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf as the first two picks. Uncertainty abounded about who was the better pick: Manning was thought to be the more mature athlete and Leaf the more talented passer. One player ended up failing to realize his potential, bounced from team to team, and ended up out of the league after three years. He is considered to be the greatest draft bust of all time. The other led his team to a Super Bowl and is arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game. Potential assessment is critical and can often remain hidden behind current performance. Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning were practically statistical equals in college and the “experts” thought Leaf perhaps just as equipped for the pros.

A popular variation in fantasy football is to add "keepers" to the mix where, at the end of the season, each player may keep two or three players for use in the following year. The art of picking keepers in fantasy football is ridiculously complex. And, after playing the game for several years, you learn that future performance varies widely and the identification of potential is often hopelessly fraught with error.

A similar endeavor faces many organizations each year. The dynamics of an ever-changing workforce demands that new talent be recruited, trained, assimilated, and developed into something useful. What is the cost to the organization of someone who undergoes this extensive orientation and then lasts just one year before moving on? How does one identify the "keepers" in their organization?116025118

Organizations all too often take a "fermenting" approach to the development of emergent leaders. That is, some potential leaders will absorb the culture, choose to stay despite any number of barriers or turnover threats (compensation, culture, work variety), and then, eventually “ripen” into the leaders of tomorrow. What if, instead, these organizations decided to select those they deem as bursting with potential as the "keepers" among the group?

This is precisely what a professional executive assessment accomplishes, and it does so with scientifically validated tools and methods. Organizations typically do a fair job of managing and developing performance, but that upward-rising vector of excellence accelerates exponentially when you identify and introduce high potentials to the candidate stream. Executive assessment identifies "Hi-Po's" in your organization, and placing a "Hi-Po keeper” on a career development path is the single best formula for ensuring that your organization grows future leaders.

If only fantasy football were that simple! How many millions could the San Diego Chargers have saved knowing that Ryan Leaf simply did not possess the potential to be their quarterback of the future? The shocking reality is that your organization can measure with significant accuracy who will be the next great quarterback. The “keepers” in your fantasy organization of tomorrow can become a reality through measuring potential with executive assessment. And those "Hi-Po's" stand the best chance of carrying your organization to victory in the future.



For more information on how to better develop the "keepers" in your organization download our Whitepaper on Executive Development:


Executive Development

Drew Brock, Ph.D.