In today's Wall Street Journal, Joann Lublin writes about the "stay or go" decision for high-potential leaders. These folks often find themselves in demand these days. Should they stay at the company that has designated them as a high potential and invested in their development, or should they go to a new employer promising better opportunities, faster promotions, and/or a slice of equity? Lublin identifies several risks associated with moving to a new employer:
Job-hopping stars usually lose the extra attention to their leadership development needs. “That’s often when they need it the most,” says John Beeson, author of “The Unwritten Rules,” a book about landing executive promotions. “If you jump ship while a high potential, you may never get those issues addressed,” Mr. Beeson warns. “And they can derail your career.” Departing high potentials also risk burnt bridges with an employer that has invested time and money grooming them. A surprise exit may harm the reputation of internal advocates who fought for their advancement. “You need to handle those relationships carefully to avoid causing a rift,” recommends Mike Travis, head of Travis & Co., an executive-search firm in Newton, Mass
I would add that high potentials need to assess the "supporting infrastructure" at their prospective employers. You cannot succeed on your own. Therefore, you need to ask these five questions:
- How strong will your new team be?
- Are employees throughout the organization highly engaged?
- Will your peers be supportive and collaborative, or will they constantly compete with you?
- How effective are the systems that you will need to do your work?
- Will the firm provide you with continued coaching and development?