I am currently writing a book on succession planning, and in it I explore the difference between employee performance and potential. Many leaders make promotion decisions by reviewing an employee’s past performance, yet they neglect or minimize the importance of evaluating their potential to take on higher levels of responsibility in an effect way. The fact is that only 1 out of 7 high performers has high potential characteristics.
I recommend the executive team define what behaviors and core competencies a potential leader should display that would demonstrate potential for a higher position, before making a promotion. Behavioral assessments are a key component to determining potential and should be incorporated into leadership evaluations as discussed in this article, The Keys of Effective Leadership and Personality Assessment.