A BCG Matrix Retake for Talent: Provide Your People With Opportunities!


We often ask ourselves whether we are providing our workforce with optimal opportunities so that they can bring out the best in themselves.

A recast of the Growth/Share matrix (popularized by Bruce Henderson of The Boston Consulting Group) might be one way of looking at it.

In a highly simplified view, every organization has its share of Stars (highly ambitious performers with a great track record), the Steady Janes (less ambitious but solid performers), the Dogs (the low performers with low ambition) and the Question Marks (those with high potential and ambition, but with an unproven or mixed track record). See it all coming together?

Clearly, you should nurture your Stars, keep your Steady Janes and minimize your Dogs. But what of the Question Marks? How do you develop them?

Part of the answer lies in providing the right opportunities. Perhaps the reason why your Question Marks haven’t fully developed is that they have not been provided with the optimal set of opportunities that fully utilize their skills and drive. If they continue to be opportunity-starved for long periods, they will leave!

So then, how do you optimize your ‘opportunity portfolio’ to help develop these question marks? Use your Steady Janes!

Look at current and upcoming projects and initiatives that your Steady Janes (and Dogs to a certain extent) have taken up and find out if any of these would be opportunities that would excite your Question Marks. If yes, transfer those over and redistribute your projects. Don’t worry about the Steady Janes- if they truly live up to their track record, they will continue to do fine.

Setup a monitoring plan to observe if your Question Marks will take these, and develop into Stars (who you should nurture). In some cases they will prove to be Dogs (in which case you should eventually get rid of them or move them into more suitable roles).

There is a saying that good people don’t quit their jobs; they quit their managers. It is probably also equally true that good people quit jobs that aren’t great fits for their background, skills and career goals. By providing your people with the right opportunities, you are doing your job well and letting your people shine.

Is this a good framework to optimally redistribute your projects? I would love to hear what you guys have to say.

Wishing you all a happy new year filled with joy and prosperity!

Also published on LinkedIn here:



~ by aratnam on January 1, 2015.

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