…So lately I have been thinking a lot about “potential” versus “readiness”. On the one hand, as a talent manager the topic has been coming up a lot at work, 1. I’m 28, and I have a lot of my career career left in front of me… but I’m not a spring chicken anymore, either.but on a personal level it has been top of mind as well. 1

There are a lot of reasons that “ready talent” – that being defined in this case as talent that possesses the technical skills required to theoretically succeed at the next level – sometimes falls short of expectations when promoted. Failure to adapt to the culture of a new team or organization, being placed into a role with undefined expectations, a poorly managed transition between the new hire and incumbent, and/or an inability to influence key stakeholders are just a few reasons that talent which should succeed on paper doesn’t always succeed in role.

Conversely, there are also occasions where high potential talent that seems poised to eventually be ready for the next level never quite gets there. Sometimes they just don’t want it badly enough, other times they’re high performers that have been mis-classified as high potential, and still other times they don’t get the right developmental opportunities to prepare them for the next level at critical points in their careers.

…I have always agonized over if my client group’s future leaders are getting the exposure to critical experiences that they need to reach the next level… whilst at the same time also worrying if their brand internally may be irrevocably harmed if they are pushed too fast.

Talent pros: When do you know that someone is ready to make the leap? And when is it good to give someone the rope to try even when you don’t know for sure? I’ve said before that I am personally predisposed to throwing caution to the wind and going for it when opportunity presents itself, but many a broken career lies at the bottom of precipices that it may have been ill 2. Unintentional rhyme >_>.advised to try and clear. 2

Welcoming good literature suggestions in the comments section below.