Marcus Buckingham

Traditional notions about high-potential employees did not escape [Marcus] Buckingham’s criticism. He takes issue with the common practice of identifying certain employees as “HiPo.” For one thing, he said, potential cannot be measured. “Show me the people analytics that has been taught anywhere, ever, that showed you could measure something in [an individual], independent of context or situational role, that’s called ‘potential.’” Nevertheless, he said, companies will claim that certain people “have a lot of it and you have none of it […] [This is] just made up,” said Buckingham.

He noted that in any big company, individuals who have been labeled HiPo “get all the goodies and everybody else doesn’t […] It’s morally reprehensible.” He asserted that potential is something that everyone has. “Any sort of human can grow and learn and get better,” he said. “It’s not a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset […] All of us have a growth mindset. The question is, where do you learn and grow the most?”

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