Using the 9-Box Grid Alongside the Performance-Values Matrix

Many organizations choose to utilize our 9-Box Leadership Succession tool alongside WorkDove’s Performance-Values Matrix. The impetus for using both resources together is due to our clients seeing great value in gaining data insights to identify top performers and potential successors. The evidence is clear that the two tools complement each other by providing deeper knowledge about individuals’ performance and potential development opportunities. 

Importance of Succession Planning

Succession planning is the process of identifying and coaching potential future leaders. It has an important role to play in the overall long-term success of an organization. However, it is often an area of strategic planning that gets overlooked.

We know that well-executed succession planning helps organizations make better long-term decisions. When done well, it is a powerful tool used to assess if team members are in the right seats, while also developing  high potential employees for future growth within the organization. The question is then, how do you identify these potential future leaders? The 9-box grid is a great place to start. 

The 9-Box Grid & the

Performance-Values Matrix

A ‘nine-box grid’ is a matrix tool 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/leaders work together to manually place individuals on the X-Y axis to help identify the highest potential individuals, who needs development, and who needs coaching on performance improvement.

9-Box Performance Model

Similar to the 9-Box, WorkDove’s Performance-Values Matrix (PVM) rates two dimensions: the employee’s performance and cultural values/behavioral alignment.

Performance-Values Matrix

“Stars” in the upper right section of both grids are coached for succession; transpose the lower right-hand boxes and the upper left-hand boxes from the PVM, and it’s visible to see who has potential and who needs further development. The lower left-hand corner in both grids represent employees who are in need of a “crucial conversation.”

Assessing Performance Using the Performance-Values Matrix 

Managers’ star ratings of both the performance and behaviors of the employee are combined to form a single Total Performance Score.

This Total Performance Score then serves as the X-axis on the 9-Box. The Y-axis, or potential, is determined by a group of leaders to assess and decide through candid conversations together. It is important to note that the emphasis here is on the conversation as it allows for further accountability and additional perspectives beyond just the employee’s direct manager.

The power in using the Total Performance Score from the PVM is that it 1) gives a more holistic view of the employee’s overall performance and 2) reduces subjectivity by relying on a documented performance review process.

Assessing Potential Using the 9-Box Grid

Once the PVM has been completed by the manager, other managers/leaders can begin the 9-Box conversation with this data as a starting point. Keep in mind that it is not necessary to complete a 9-Box grid placement for every employee! In fact, we recommend that leadership succession conversations are only focused on employees who are considered high performers. Employees with low performance or workplace behavior scores would not realistically be considered for future leadership opportunities until they have received performance improvement coaching.

We have created an easy-to-use 9-Box template to help get you started today!

In the template, Performance and Behavior ratings are added together to calculate the Total Performance Score. Performance and Behaviors are each rated on a 5-star scale, so the Total Performance Score will consist of a number from 1-10.

Managers and other leaders can then select employees and rate their leadership identified potential on the same 10-point scale. This then automatically populates the 9-Box grid once they rate the potential.

They can then filter through this data by positions, departments, locations, etc. to get visibility on what employees they want to complete 9-Box exercise for.

Final Thoughts

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 between the 9-Box placement and PVM placement, we recommend you do some digging. Is the person’s manager not seeing every aspect of their employee? Do they play favorites and give a review that may be biased?

WorkDove’s 9-Box app allows for a custom configuration so you can adjust the labels on the 9-Box grid to what makes the most sense for your organization. The Performance-Values Matrix has the ability to track something called Leadership Identified Next Position and Employee Identified Position(s), both of which populate into a Leadership Succession Report. This report gives insight into the employee’s overall performance scores, their desired next position, and the next steps for their growth identified by their direct manager/leader. You can reach out to your Customer Success Manager at any time for help on crafting your account’s settings, 9-Box grid, or PVM.


Ready to implement the 9-Box alongside the Performance-Values Matrix?

1 comment

  1. Carla Williams
    May 19, 2022 at 11:45 pm

    This is great material, overall it’s a fantastic idea .I would like the demo

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