Developing High Potentials? Here’s Why Thinking Has Everything to Do With It

Companies are increasingly optimistic about growth, according to new research from Right Management. That’s the good news.

The bad? “Only 6% of companies in the Americas say, ‘We have an ample leadership pipeline that will cover most of our needs.’” (“Trends in Talent Management: Employers Optimistic on Growth but Lack of 'Ready Now' Leaders will Impede Success,” Right Management)

Coming out of the layoffs and restructurings of recent years, organizations are starting to see better results, but now they’re dealing with another issue: a talent gap. This talent gap is colliding with a changing business landscape—one that will place new demands on the leaders of the future.

So what can organizations do to start “growing their own” to step up to leadership?

The first task is to recognize that thinking, as Ned Herrmann would say, has everything to do with management.

In his book, The Creative Brain, he spoke of the need for managers to be able to engage all modes of thinking, depending on the demands of the situation, explaining, "When designing and implementing responses to business issues and challenges, the human brain functions at its most innovative, productive best only when all four quadrants [of thinking styles as depicted in the Whole Brain® Model] engage situationally and iteratively in the process…"

This description—a call for Whole Brain® Thinking as a way to be more agile in leadership—has never been more relevant than today. Consider:

  • As the environment continues to change, up-and-coming leaders will have to get comfortable with unpredictability and be able to shift their thinking in a moment’s notice.
  • As they move through the leadership pipeline, they’ll have to deal with a variety of different mental demands, many of which will require them to stretch outside their own mental comfort zones.
  • In the midst of more noise and complexity, but less time to develop people, HR, talent management and training professionals will have to find more brain-friendly ways to engage learners, understanding what they need and how to best deliver it.

What are you doing to make sure Whole Brain® Thinking is part of your high-potential development strategies?


The four-color, four-quadrant graphic, HBDI® and Whole Brain® are trademarks of Herrmann Global, LLC.