There is nothing more important for the long-term success of your team, department and company than identifying your pipeline and managing your high potentials. Whether you are thinking about who to promote, how to identify your successor or how to be a better manager, this list of things to consider along with some key questions to ponder is a good place to start. In this blog series, we are exploring 25 ways to keep your great employees engaged and help them continue to out-perform everyone else.
This week we examine developing your Subject-Matter Experts (SMEs).
Case 2: Your Subject-Matter Experts (SMEs) will usually love what they do and be very good at it, which is the key to engagement. Many of them will want to advance into a management or leadership role, even though their talents do not align with that type of work. If you can figure out how to convince them to remain SMEs, everyone will benefit. One way to do this is to create a “Leadership LatticeSM” that allows professionals and SMEs to progress horizontally or diagonally (into bigger, broader and more impactful SME roles) rather than vertically (into management or leadership roles). By giving your SMEs the right opportunities, and of course the right pay and benefits, you will be able to help them flourish in the role that is ideal for their talents and passion.
4. Do you know who your future leaders are (those with competence, talent and passion)?
5. Do you know who on your team should ideally remain a SME?
6. Of these people, do you know who wants to be a leader and who prefers to remain a SME?
7. For those who want to be leaders, what evidence do you have that they would make a great leader?
8. For those who want to remain SMEs, do you have a plan of action for each person that will provide good, consistent challenges, and provide opportunities to take on new responsibilities and “own” outcomes and strategic improvements?
To read other blog posts including more of the “25 Questions to Ponder to Improve Your Talent Pipeline and Manage Your High,” visit
- Part 1 – Where You’re Spending Your Time
- Part 2 – Developing Your Subject-Matter Experts (SMEs)
- Part 3 – Politicians vs. Performers
- Part 4 – Leadership Attention to Talent
- Part 5 – Leadership: Do They Want It and Are They Ready?
- Part 6 – Openness to Innovation
- Part 7 – The Purpose Behind Leadership
Brent Proulx, M.S., SPHR is a Management and Leadership Consultant for Talent Plus. He is passionate about helping people and organizations become more successful at what they do through the creation, implementation and perfection of strength-based measures for selection, development and coaching.
Management and Leadership Consultant