9 - Box for Succession Planning and High Potential Identification

I wanted to ask this group of experts if they have any feedback on using 9 - Boxes.

The question that we have is how do we coach the leaders that are making the placement decisions of their employees into each box on how to accurately utilize the tool and make proper placements.

Also, is there a recommended percentage each team should have in each box?

Any support on best practices for getting the most value from the 9 - Box, we would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks for your support and time! Stay healthy!

11replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • Hi Matthew,

    In the past, I've created a frame of reference tool and training to guide managers on placement. This helps to define/explain each of the performance and potential definitions so that they were clear. I worked with leaders to also help define what a "profile" looks like for each box (examples of this can be found on the web I think). The performance definitions must be specific - as in what behaviors identify a low, medium, and high performer (think how that lines up with your company values and who contributes the most). Growth potential should be time bound (as in when you expect that individual to be ready for their next move). 

    After they completed their nine box, we'd host talent reviews to discuss their placements and use it as a calibration session to determine that we were in agreement of each leader's interpretation. This is where we'd discuss those behaviors/contributions. 

    As far as recommended percentages, honestly I never provided guidance on that. I didn't want to bias leaders into thinking they had to force rank. Generally, you should see somewhat of a "normal curve," meaning that a large percentage will be in the middle with somewhat of a balance in the upper and lower rows. If you have a strong bunch of performers, you'll see more at the top and of course if you have a performance issue, you'll see more at the bottom. 

    Hope this helps and let me know if you have questions! 


    • Kate Legters 

      Thank you so much for this. It provides some additional direction and I appreciate it. Do you have any definitions for performance and potential that you used that worked well? I have been looking a lot into Korn Ferry's definitions of potential.

      I appreciate your feedback. I hope you are staying safe and healthy.



  • Sure - I can send you over some stuff that might be helpful! Let me know the best email to send some attachments to. :) 

    Like 1
  • You are awesome! Yes please. Anything you can send me would be wonderful. The best e-mail address is: matthewthomas@gorillaglue.com.

    I really appreciate it.

  • Hi, Matthew.  I haven't been on HR Net in a few days and just seeing your post. 9-Box is a great tool to assess an individual's opportunities within the organization.  As you know, a lot of the success/effectiveness comes from defining performance and goals with the individual.  A potential supplement to creating the 9-Box model, is having the team member participate in a Tri DNA assessment: DISC (role specific), Driving Forces, Competencies.  Having this information about someone, paired with performance as observed by managers/supervisors, gives specific detail regarding the right path for the individual.  This in turn helps the organization set the team member up for success.  Far too many times a person does great at a role and is promoted only to do mediocre or fail in the new role.  Knowing what, why and how about the person helps mitigate that from happening.

    I would be happy to provide further detail. Please call 513-444-0067 or email jdiebold@focalpointcoaching.com.

    • Jim Diebold 


      Thanks for getting back with me. I really appreciate it. You bring up a great point! I have taken that assessment before. It is really good. I never considered it for this step. I will have to pull my past report and review it.

      Let me look at my past report. If I have questions, I will let you know.

      I appreciate you.



  • My pleasure, Matthew.  To make sure we are on the same page, DISC is a very popular assessment (as you know).  My comment was to add 2 components not normally part of DISC.  Those would be the Driving Forces and Competencies.  Maybe you did do the full Tri DNA assessment.  I just wanted to make sure.  I've had others see "DISC" and assume them to be one in the same.  As one other item for consideration, in my original response I mention 'role specific' for the DISC piece.  We have different DISC assessments based on the type of position being considered (sales, leadership, etc).

    Hope this helps.  Let me know how else I may be of service.



  • Jim,

    Thank you for the clarification. I appreciate it. Yes, I did the full Tri DNA about 5 years ago. It was a great assessment that shared a lot of different components.

    I need to get back with the leadership team this week to get more understanding on their asks. If anything should come up, I will let you know.

    I appreciate it.

    Stay healthy and safe.

     - Matthew

      • Jim Diebold
      • Providing Clarity through Collaboration
      • Jim_Diebold
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Matthew Thomas Matthew, wanted to circle back and see if there was any determination by the leadership team or if there were any other questions I may be able to help direct an answer with.

      Hope all is well.


  • Great to hear, Matthew.  Very eye-opening in a lot of cases.  Sounds like you guys are trying to be proactive with your organization during this interesting time.  360 surveys can also give leadership valuable information to work with.  Looking forward to helping.  Have an amazing day.  Hopefully you have an opportunity to enjoy this beautiful weather.



    • Jim Diebold 



      Thanks for following up.

      At this point I am still reviewing our options and determining the best situation for us.

      I hope you are doing well and staying healthy.



Like2 Follow
  • 2 yrs agoLast active
  • 11Replies
  • 53Views
  • 4 Following