High Potential Program Saves $2 Million


This organization is a multi-billion dollar enterprise with offices in over 70 locations around the world. After 60 years of success, the organization had plateaued and many outsiders were describing it as stagnant and on the verge of becoming obsolete. The senior leadership were predominantly European and North American men and the organization knew they needed to take a strategic, innovative approach to turning things around and equipping a new generation of global leaders from their regions across the globe.


The organization identified cultural intelligence as a critical capability needed by all their leaders. CQ was added to the core values of the organizations and the talent development team began integrating CQ into every function. One of the first points of implementation was in their high potential program.

The 6-month program brought high potential leaders together from around the world, ensuring that at least half were from developing markets. The program was designed as follows:

Program Launch

  • Each high potential was paired with another leader from a different part of the world.
  • The pairs were assigned a business challenge, for which they needed to propose an innovation that would serve the organization’s diverse customer base globally.
  • Each pair was assigned a senior executive who joined them during the program launch and provided sponsorship and coaching throughout the 6 months.
  • The week-long launch was focused on developing cultural intelligence and using it to address the assigned business challenges.
    – Participants received 360° feedback via the CQ Multi-Rater Assessment
    – Participants mapped their Cultural Value Differences with other participants to consider how they could use these differences to address the business challenge
    – Participants developed a personal action plan for improving their CQ during the 6-month program.

4-Month High Stressed Project

  • Each pair had to recruit a culturally, diverse team of junior staff members to help them work on their respective business challenges
  • Each pair taught cultural intelligence to their virtual team of junior staff and used the CQ Self-Assessment with them.
  • Each virtual team met at least once a week to develop a plan for addressing the business challenge. The teams were responsible to ensure that their plans addressed the cultural components of implementation and buy-in.
  • Each pair had monthly coaching sessions with a sponsor/mentor

Program Culmination

  • All the high potentials reconvened for one week at the end of the 6-month program.
  • Each pair presented their business innovations to the board and executive team. Innovations were assessed based on strategic analysis, business potential, viable solutions, and whether it included a culturally intelligent strategy.
  • Each participant took the CQ Multi-Rater Assessment again to measure the change in CQ since the beginning of the program. A de-brief session was provided to interpret the results.


As a result of implementing CQ into their high potential program:

  • 30% of the business proposals were successfully implemented globally (compared to less than 10% prior to incorporating CQ in the program.)
  • The organization estimates that since implementing CQ in the high potential program, the resulting innovations have saved the organization at least $2 million/year
  • 25% of participants were promoted within 2 years of participating in the program.
  • Participants’ CQ improved significantly from the beginning to the end of the program.

CQ is an ongoing education

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