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What is the 9 Box?

The 9 Box chart or grid is a commonly used tool for examining talent within the organization and making talent decisions.  The 9 Box provides perspective or a way of looking at the relationship between the performance of individuals and their potential for the future.  Most organizations use the 9 box as part of the succession planning process as this tool can help to guide in the identification of individuals who are considered to be high-potentials, successors for positions, and even individuals for whom a position change may be needed.

9 box

9 Box Chart | A simple and visually appealing way to look at talent during the Talent Review process.

Placement in the 9 box chart is determined by ratings of performance and potential – both based upon a 3 point scale (i.e., Low, Moderate, High).  The 9 boxes or categories derived from the ratings are typically labeled in some way; companies use a variety of labels.  For example, the High Performer/High Potential category may be labeled “Consistent Star.”

The 9 box chart provides a simple and visually appealing way to look at talent during the Talent Review process.  It can help leadership teams:

  • have meaningful discussions around talent,
  • calibrate and come to shared agreement on expectations and evaluations, and
  • build shared ownership for development of people across the entire organization.



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Related Resources:

Succession Planning: Living the 9 Box Dream

The Succession Planning 9 Box: A Powerful Tool to be Used Wisely

Development at the Top – Use the 9 Box to Develop Talent in Succession Planning

Developing Future Promise – Use the 9 Box to Develop Talent in Succession Planning

Limited Potential Does Not Limit Options – Use the 9 Box to Develop Talent in Succession Planning

Power Saw or Utility Knife – What Kind of Tool is Your 9 Box?

Is it a Secret? Communicating Hi-Po Status in Succession Planning