The Talent Grid - online


"The informal organisation has become a coordination mechanism in itself."

Driven to change

An analysis of the collected data showed that a profile of high potential could be compiled by plotting two relatively simple dimensions in a coordinate system, creating a grid with four ideal-typical profiles. The axes were labelled agreeableness and organisational sensitivity. The agreeableness dimension was placed on the x-axis of the model. The concept is derived from the Big Five theory. (Howard, P.J. & Howard, D.J.M. Within our model, in which we gave a slightly different meaning to this concept, it is defined as the extent to which someone is willing to adapt their own opinion to those of others. A person, who displays a high degree of agreeableness, is called an adapter. The behavioural characteristics of such a person include the ability to adapt and cooperate. It is the commitment to a goal, without any direct personal benefit. At the other end of the scale is the challenger, whose behavioural characteristics include, in particular, ambition, independence, courage and initiative. Adapters can easily adjust their opinions to those of others. Challengers are particularly focussed on realising their own opinions, ideas and suggestions in preference to those of others. Challengers are driven to change the status quo - they want to make a difference


Agreeableness in behavioural characteristics:

Our findings lead us to conclude that people with management potential usually display challenger behaviour. This is also confirmed by a variety of studies. Ambition, vision and dominance appear to be important in predicting success in management functions.


Being right or being seen as being right

In today's labour relations situation, being right is completely different to being seen as being right. Social developments have resulted in organisations becoming much more informal. The breakdown of formal employee-employer relationships has created new leadership challenges and opportunities. As far as the management of change and innovations is concerned, the informal organisation has become a coordination mechanism in itself for managers. Interviews with companies confirmed that, in addition to a focus on content, a process-focussed approach is required from managers. This involves the ability to influence both subordinates and superiors informally.
Therefore, it is important to know how someone relates to the drive to challenge his or her environment to change. Does he or she succeed in creating a support structure? In other words, how do challengers attempt to achieve their goals of change within the organisation? For this reason, the x-axis, agreeableness, intersects the y-axis representing the organisational sensitivity dimension. Someone with a high organisational sensitivity score understands the interdependencies and the various interests, opinions and viewpoints of his (informal) relevant colleagues and adapts his behaviour to these aspects when necessary. Such a person understands the relationship between personal interests and the interests of other parts of the organisation and recognises the influence and effects of personal decisions and activities on other sections of the organisation.

Organisational sensitivity in behavioural characteristics:

The Asset, the Competitor, the Facilitator and Innovator

The resulting coordinate model distinguishes four different behavioural typologies: the asset, the competitor, the facilitator and the innovator. The four types can be categorised in this Talent Grid as shown in Figure 3. All four ideal types have their own value, given the specific organisational and functional context.

'The 'Talent Grid'


© 1999 Career Openers