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Leading After COVID: Power Up Your Talent Review

Debra Cannarella
VP of Operations, High Performing Systems, Inc.

As the world continues the recovery phase of COVID-19, the space between emergency and reconstruction in the business landscape offers an opportunity for organizations to transform how they operate. Organizations are facing a critical bifurcation point: reshape business according to the “new” big picture, or fall back into old habits and outdated modes of operation. Savvy leaders are asking, “What can we learn about ourselves, our employees and our business behaviors from the COVID crisis and its effects? How can we emerge stronger in the post-COVID world?”

The NEW Science of Leadership for the Post-COVID World

Throughout 2020 and 2021, adaptive leadership emerged as a critical competency. Those leaders who were unable to adapt to the uncertainty and chaos ushered in by COVID-19 caused their businesses to suffer more. With that in mind, HR professionals and hiring managers realize that the success of future leaders should rely on more than a review of past performance. A candidate’s Learned Abilities (knowledge, skills, experience) are only one piece of the puzzle, and they provide a glimpse to the past. The candidate’s Innate Abilities (Cognitive Ability, Emotional Intelligence and others) are critical in determining potential for success in the future.

Assess and Identify Who Your Talent Really Is

When Innate Abilities go unassessed, managers can make hiring and promotion mistakes that cost organizations valuable time and money. This is where a scientifically-validated assessment can help. By applying a rigorous scientific process like the Leadership Potential Equation (LPE) to evaluate candidates, your organization can significantly increase hiring success. Comparing your applicants’ Abilities to the job requirements will help you determine those with the best potential to succeed if hired or promoted—even in the face of a crisis like COVID-19.

Innate Abilities refer to Cognitive Ability, Emotional Intelligence and other aspects of a person’s leadership potential that are difficult to evaluate based on resume analysis alone. You can’t simply look over a list of past accomplishments to determine if a candidate can perform successfully in the future. This is especially true if the new position is at a higher role level, has a higher level of complexity or ambiguity, or is larger in scope or project duration than what the candidate has done in the past. Also, if the candidate’s Emotional Intelligence is not a match for the job, the potential for a poor hire is exacerbated. LPE Graph Image

The LPE identifies which candidates are a match for a specific Role now and will pinpoint their growth trajectory/transitions within a 2-year timeframe. For example, Candidate A has the potential to be successful in higher Roles, while Candidate B is best suited to the current Role.

The LPE will also identify a candidate’s potential challenges so that an on-boarding and development plan can be customized to address these issues. Higher-level executives, in particular, will benefit from Executive Mentoring to maximize their Innate potential while developing or balancing potential challenges.
Executive Mentoring Raises the Bar At Higher Role Levels

Whether a leader is new to the role or already serving in it, executives benefit from finding a mentor with the skills, experience and expertise to offer guidance to the executive. Executives need a sounding board and mentor with the proper insight to challenge the executive to think at a higher level. And as we emerge from COVID-19, executive mentorship must be tied to current events with a goal of positioning the organization for the future.

In short, the right assessment to identify current and future potential, paired with a strong talent development program that includes executive mentoring, will ensure a foundation of professionals prepared to navigate changing landscapes and able to lead differently using a New Science of Leadership in the post-COVID world.

For a printable PDF of this article, click here.

Debra Cannarella is the VP of Operations at High Performing Systems, Inc. (HPS), a consulting company that provides assessments, consulting and training solutions to help organizations excel. HPS conducts certification training on the EQ-i 2.0 assessment and provides individual, leader and executive coaching to clients. Contact Debra by email at

High Performing Systems is an award-winning world leader in EQ-i 2.0® certification (since 2005), EI training and implementation, leader coaching and success profiles. Call 706-769-5836 to talk with an experienced EI practitioner about your organization's specific needs.

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