It’s Not About the Boxes: The 9-box Grid and What Really Matters | The Talent Strategy Group

Talent Management

Many organizations conduct talent reviews to uncover talent gaps, identify high-potential employees, and inform succession planning. And as noted in this new article by Marc Effron, organizations continue to grapple with what tool they should use to guide talent review discussions, including the classic 9-box of performance and potential. Marc notes that when asked what the optimal tool is for a talent review discussion, his reply is “it doesn’t matter as long as it facilitates an accurate conversation about an individual’s performance and potential.” Regardless of how many “boxes” an organization includes as part of its tool, Marc provides suggestions, such as ensuring that the definition of any one box feels unique and separate from the others and avoiding complex labels and definitions that don’t provide value. I have found that four categories, in general, are sufficient to differentiate talent while minimizing complexity. Leaders will need to determine the right number of categories that allow them to do the same for their organizations. You can check out some of Marc’s other articles on this topic, including 1) Potential After the Pandemic – which addresses the question: should we change how we define and measure potential to align with the changing nature of work and the workplace? 2) Rethinking Potential: Should We Search for Hidden Gems, Shy-Po’s and Repressed Performers? – touches on how to ensure that those with significant potential—but less vocal about career advancement—don’t get overlooked.  3) Six Steps to Great Talent Reviews – which dives into ways to overcome challenges to executing effective talent reviews, such as overly complex processes and no follow-up.