From time to time, organizations ask us how the 9-Box Performance Model works in tandem with Performance Culture’s performance values matrix. For companies who are using 9-box for succession planning, we think the two systems complement each other by adding additional color to employee performance and potential.
“A ‘nine-box grid’ is a matrix tool that is used to evaluate and plot a company’s talent pool based on two factors, which most commonly are performance and potential. Typically on the horizontal axis is ‘performance’ measured by performance reviews. On the vertical axis is ‘potential’ referring to an individual’s potential to grow one or more levels in a managerial or professional capacity.
Nine-box grids are actively used during the talent review process. During this process, a group of managers works together to place individuals on the X-Y axis to help to identify who are the highest potential individuals, who needs development, and who needs coaching on performance improvement.” (Bersin)
9 Box Performance Model
Performance Culture Matrix
Based on both grids, you can see that the Performance Culture grid translates with the outer corner boxes of the 9 box grid. “Stars” in both grids are groomed for succession; transpose the lower right-hand boxes and the upper left-hand boxes and it’s visible to see who has potential and who needs further development; and the lower left-hand corner in both grids are employees who are in need of a “crucial conversation”.
“We use 9-Box to identify our high performers so that we can ensure that their professional development and leadership needs are kept on pace to keep them engaged and growing within the company. We also look at our solid, steady performers to determine what they need to minimally stay at the pace they are on, or if they show potential, move them along with the proper training. Lastly, we review the people who are neither performing well nor seem to have the potential to improve. This provides us with a good visual to discuss whether these employees are simply in the wrong role, or are not a good fit with our company.
Performance Culture plots each person on a grid as well, however, this comes directly from an employee’s manager. A 9-box grid takes into account the opinions of several people. The two grids complement each other – and ideally, both grids should have similar data points for each employee. If there is a marked difference from where a specific employee is on a 9-Box vs the performance values matrix, I would do a bit of digging – is the person’s manager not seeing every aspect of their employee? Do they play favorites and give a review that may be skewed?
I think there is a need for both processes – for many organizations, 9-Box is performed once per year, but Performance Culture and its matrix should be changing more frequently due to the greater frequency of review cycles.”