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Having a 9-Box Grid is not a talent strategy!

I’m becoming more and more convinced that the 9-box grid has now become totally obsolete as a meaningful method of assessing your organisational talent.

If the 9-box grid is the bedrock of your talent strategy, then it’s time to reassess and move towards an aligned way of thinking.

Here’s a few reasons why I’ve seen the 9-box grid fail at so many levels,

The lack of subjectivity

The 9-box grid process of assessing both performance and potential is totally subjective and can be influenced by the biases of the assessor. This subjectivity can lead to inconsistencies in evaluations and, potentially, unfair treatment of your employees.

Its only ever a snapshot in time

The grid provides a snapshot of an employee's performance and potential at a specific point in time. However, both performance and potential are dynamic and can change over time due to various factors such as training, development opportunities, changes in job responsibilities, or external factors. Failing to account for these changes can limit the effectiveness of talent management decisions based on the grid.

The lack of actionable insights 

While the grid can identify your high-potential employees, it may not provide clear guidance on how to develop or retain them effectively. You need robust talent development strategies and support mechanisms to translate the insights from the grid into meaningful actions and outcomes.

Here are some suggestions for making your talent strategy fully aligned.

Talent forums

This involves in-depth discussions among leaders and managers to evaluate the talent pool within the organisation, identify high-potential individuals, and discuss development opportunities and succession plans. Further calibration sessions then ensure consistency and fairness in talent assessments by facilitating dialogue and alignment among assessors.

Success profiles

These define the key competencies, skills, and behaviours required for success in various roles within the organisation now and in the future. They serve as a framework for assessing and developing talent, helping employees understand the expectations for their roles and guiding recruitment, performance management, and your development offering.

Continuous feedback and coaching

Moving away from relying solely on the traditional annual performance reviews, your organisation needs to adopt continuous feedback and coaching practices to provide ongoing support and development opportunities to your employees. Regular check-ins between managers and employees allow for timely feedback, goal setting, and adjustment of development plans based on evolving needs and career aspirations.


Contact me now to find out more about our ALIGNED® talent model, at so we can continue the conversation.



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