Reviewing Talent – Performance vs. Potential vs. Readiness

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It’s a familiar scene during talent assessment time: a manager comes to HR requesting a promotion for his “superstar” who’s “outperformed” everyone else and “is ready for the next level.” You, the talent professional, struggle to help the manager understand that not everyone who is performing well is promotable. Many people (and even entire organizations) confuse performance with potential, and potential with readiness. It can sometimes be tricky to determine where someone falls within these three levels during talent evaluations. If you have a great performer, don’t make the mistake of assuming this person is also a high potential. High potential means more than high performance ratings; it takes the right mix of experience, skills and personal qualities to be considered a potential leader. The same goes for readiness – someone may have all the potential in the world, but if they don’t eventually turn leadership potential into actual leadership capability, they will never be considered “ready” for a leadership role. In this session we will explore the differences and connections between performance, potential and readiness for leadership.


Kim Einspahr Fleming, Ph.D.
Group Vice President Succession Management
SunTrust Bank

Kim Fleming is Group Vice President and Talent Management Consultant for Succession Management for SunTrust Banks, Inc.  In this role, she is responsible for defining the strategies, processes and tools for succession planning and talent assessment — key elements for SunTrust’s leadership pipeline.

After joining SunTrust in 2008, Kim led the Learning Solutions team for SunTrust University. This team was responsible for partnering strategically with Line of Business and Functional leaders to determine training priorities and strategies. Prior to joining SunTrust, Dr. Fleming was the Director of Corporate Organization and Leadership Development for Express Scripts Inc.  In this role, she was responsible for the strategy and execution of organization wide talent management tools and initiatives including talent assessment, succession planning, performance management, talent retention, talent engagement and leadership development.  Prior to this, Dr. Fleming was an Organization and Leadership Development Consultant for 6 years for Ameren, a mid-western based utility.

Kim holds Masters and Doctoral degrees in Organization Psychology from Saint Louis University.  She earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology from Nebraska Wesleyan University.  She is active in the community through the Junior League of Cobb-Marietta, and Marietta’s First United Community Church.