9-Box Grid Model – Definition, Components of the 9-Box Grid Model, Benefits, Performance vs Potential Matrix, Rating Scale Criteria, Employee Placement System, Steps For Implementing The 9-Box Grid Model, Common Mistakes To Avoid, Identifying High-Potential Employees

Full length portrait of a handsome successful businessman in suit posing with arms folded while standing isolated over gray background

Home / Glossary index / 9-Box Grid Model – Definition, Components of the 9-Box Grid Model, Benefits, Performance vs Potential Matrix, Rating Scale Criteria, Employee Placement System, Steps For Implementing The 9-Box Grid Model, Common Mistakes To Avoid, Identifying High-Potential Employees

What Is The 9-Box Grid Model ?

The 9-Box Grid Model, also known as the Performance and Potential Matrix or Nine-Block Matrix, is a popular tool used by organizations to assess and evaluate employee performance and potential . It provides a visual representation of where an employee stands in terms of performance and potential for growth within the organization .

The model is typically a 3×3 grid with performance levels on one axis and potential levels on the other . The x-axis represents an employee’s current level of performance, ranging from low to high, while the y-axis represents their potential for future growth within the organization, also ranging from low to high .

This tool was originally developed by McKinsey & Company in the 1970s as a way to identify high-potential employees who could potentially become leaders within their organization . Over time, it has evolved into a widely used method for evaluating employee performance across various industries .

One key benefit of using the 9-Box Grid Model is that it allows managers to have more objective and data-driven conversations about their employees’ strengths and development areas . By plotting an employee’s performance and potential levels on this grid, managers can gain insights into which employees are excelling in their roles and have high potentials for growth, as well as those who may need additional support or guidance .

In addition to assessing individual employee performance, the 9-Box Grid Model can also be used at a team or organizational level . This allows companies to identify patterns or trends in their workforce that may require attention .

However, it is important to note that the 9-Box Grid Model should not be used as the sole basis for making decisions about employee development or career progression . It should be used in conjunction with other performance management tools and processes, such as regular feedback and goal setting, to provide a more comprehensive view of an employee’s performance .

In summary, the 9-Box Grid Model is a valuable tool for organizations looking to evaluate and manage employee performance and potential . It provides a clear visual representation of where employees stand in terms of their current contributions and future potential, allowing managers to make informed decisions about their development and career growth within the organization .

What Are The Components of the 9-Box Grid Model ?

The 9-Box Grid Model is a popular performance management tool used by many organizations to assess employees, identify high potential individuals and make decisions about their development and career progression . This model basically consists of a grid with nine boxes, each representing different levels of performance and potential . But what are the components that make up this grid ? In this section, we will delve deeper into the various elements of the 9-Box Grid Model .

  • Performance Axis :

The first component of the 9-Box Grid Model is the Performance Axis . It represents an employee’s current level of performance based on predetermined key performance indicators (KPIs) . These may include factors such as quantity, quality, timeliness, cost-effectiveness, customer satisfaction or any other relevant criteria determined by the organization . The Y-axis typically ranges from low to high performance while the X-axis may be labeled as "Performance" or "Results" .

  • Potential Axis :

The second component is the Potential Axis which measures an employee’s future growth potential within an organization . This axis takes into account factors such as skills, competencies, ability to learn and adaptability to change . The scale for this axis may also range from low to high potential or labeled as "Potential" or "Development" .

  • Nine Boxes :

As mentioned earlier, there are nine boxes in total in a 9-Box Grid Model : three boxes along each axis and three at their intersection points .

a) High Performer-High Potential Box :

This box represents employees who are top performers and have high potential to take on more challenging roles .

b) High Performer-Medium Potential Box :

This box includes employees who perform exceptionally well but may have limited potential for growth in their current roles .

c) High Performer-Low Potential Box :

This box includes employees who consistently meet or exceed expectations but have limited potential for advancement .

d) Medium Performer-High Potential Box :

This box encompasses employees with average performance ratings, but with high potential for advancement .

e) Medium Performer-Medium Potential Box :

Employees in this box possess average performance and potential levels .

f) Medium Performer-Low Potential Box :

This box includes employees with average performance levels but may have limited potential to progress in their careers .

g) Low Performer-High Potential Box :

This box contains employees who may be underperforming currently, but have shown potential to improve and grow within the organization .

h) Low Performer-Medium Potential Box :

These are low-performing employees with average or limited potential for development .

i) Low Performer-Low Potential Box :

This box represents underperformers with limited future prospects within the organization .

  • Identification Criteria :

The 9-Box Grid Model relies on specific criteria such as performance ratings, leadership potential assessments and succession planning to place employees in the various boxes . This criteria may vary from organization to organization, but it is essential to have clear and consistent guidelines for evaluating and identifying employees .

  • Visualization Tools :

The 9-Box Grid Model can be created using various visualization tools such as a spreadsheet, graphing software or specialized HR software . These tools allow for easy creation, manipulation and analysis of the data .

  • Action Plan :

The final component of the 9-Box Grid Model is an action plan . Once employees have been placed in their respective boxes, organizations can use this information to create personalized development plans for each individual . This involves identifying areas of improvement or growth opportunities for each employee based on their box placement .

In conclusion, the 9-Box Grid Model is a useful tool for organizations to assess employee performance and potential . By understanding its components and how they work together, organizations can effectively use this model to make informed decisions about talent management and employee development .

Performance vs Potential Matrix

The Performance vs Potential Matrix, also known as the -Box Grid Model, is a visual representation of an individual’s or organization’s performance and potential . It is used to evaluate and categorize individuals into different areas based on their current performance level and their potential for growth .

The matrix is divided into four quadrants, with each quadrant representing a different combination of performance and potential . The vertical axis represents the level of current performance, while the horizontal axis represents the level of potential for growth .

  • High Performer, High Potential :

Individuals in this quadrant are high performers who have shown consistent excellence in their work and have a high potential for continued growth . These individuals possess valuable skills and are motivated to take on new challenges and responsibilities .

Organizations should invest in developing these individuals further by providing them with opportunities for advancement, training programs to enhance their skills or mentoring programs to guide them towards achieving their full potential .

  • Low Performer, High Potential :

Individuals falling under this quadrant have shown a lower level of performance compared to others but possess a high level of untapped potential . They may be new employees still learning the ropes or experienced employees going through a rough patch .

Organizations can work with these employees by providing additional support, guidance and training to help them improve their performance . With proper development initiatives in place, these individuals can become valuable assets for the company in the future .

  • High Performer, Low Potential :

These individuals are top performers who consistently deliver excellent results but may not have significant potential for growth or advancement . They may be content with their current role and not interested in taking on additional responsibilities .

Organizations can recognize and reward these individuals for their hard work and provide them with opportunities to take on new challenges if they choose to do so . However, it is essential to respect their wishes if they are happy with their current position .

  • Low Performer, Low Potential :

Individuals in this quadrant have low levels of performance and little potential for growth . They may lack the necessary skills, motivation or interest in their current role .

Organizations should work with these employees by providing feedback, training and support to help them improve their performance . If there is no improvement despite efforts from both the employee and the company, it may be best to consider a different role or transition out of the organization .

Overall, the Performance vs Potential Matrix provides a valuable tool for organizations to assess their employees’ strengths and areas for development . It also helps in identifying high-potential employees who can contribute significantly to the success of the organization in the long run .

What is The Rating Scale Criteria ?

  • Rating Scale Criteria Overview :

The -Box Grid Model is a powerful tool for analyzing and organizing information in a systematic and visual way . One of its key components is the rating scale, which helps to assess the importance or priority level of each item within the grid . In this section, we will dive deeper into understanding the rating scale criteria used in the -Box Grid Model .

  • Importance Level :

The first aspect of the rating scale criteria is the importance level . This refers to how critical or significant an item or task is for achieving a specific goal or outcome . The rating scale typically ranges from low to high, allowing users to assign a level that accurately represents the relevance of each item . By ranking items based on their importance level, it becomes easier to distinguish between essential and non-essential tasks or factors within the grid .

  • Urgency Level :

In addition to assessing importance, another crucial factor in prioritizing tasks or items is urgency level . This refers to how time-sensitive a task is and how quickly it needs to be resolved or addressed . The urgency level can range from low (less pressing) to high (immediate action required) . By incorporating urgency as part of the rating scale criteria, users can effectively prioritize their actions and focus on completing urgent tasks first .

  • Performance Level :

The third criterion in the rating scale is performance level, which measures how well an item or task has been executed or completed thus far . It allows for objective evaluation of progress and identifies areas where improvements can be made . This rating scale typically ranges from low (poor performance) to high (excellent performance) . By including this criteria, users can assess the effectiveness of their actions and make necessary adjustments to improve performance .

  • Probability Level :

The last aspect of the rating scale criteria is probability level, which refers to the likelihood of a particular outcome or event occurring based on current actions or factors . This rating scale typically ranges from low (low chance of success) to high (high chance of success) . By considering probability level, users can make informed decisions and prioritize tasks with a higher likelihood of achieving the desired outcome .

In conclusion, the rating scale criteria used in the -Box Grid Model takes into account various factors that influence an item’s importance, urgency, performance and probability levels . By using this criteria, users can accurately assess and prioritize their actions within the grid for more efficient and effective outcomes .

What is The Employee Placement System ?

Employee placement system, also known as employee allocation system, is a critical component of the -Box Grid Model . This system refers to the process of strategically placing employees in different positions within an organization based on their skills, experience and job responsibilities . It plays a crucial role in ensuring that the right people are placed in the right positions, resulting in optimal performance and productivity .

The purpose of an employee placement system is to identify the individual strengths and weaknesses of each employee and assign them to roles that align with their abilities . This ensures better utilization of human resources and promotes employee engagement and job satisfaction .

The first step in implementing an employee placement system is conducting a thorough assessment of each staff member’s skills, qualifications and experience . This could be done through self-assessment surveys or by utilizing data from previous performance evaluations . The information gathered can then be used to create profiles for each employee outlining their areas of expertise, preferred work style, career goals, etc .

Once these profiles have been established, they can then be matched with specific job requirements using the -Box Grid Model . The model considers both internal factors such as company culture and external factors like market trends while determining suitable placements for employees .

Additionally, an effective employee placement system should also consider cross-functional training opportunities . This means identifying potential skill gaps within different departments or teams and providing employees with development opportunities to fill those gaps . Not only does this improve overall performance but it also allows individuals to explore new areas of interest within the company .

Another key aspect of the employee placement system is regular evaluations and re-allocations . As business needs and individual capabilities evolve, it may be necessary to make changes in employee placements to ensure optimal performance . This could involve transferring employees to new roles, providing them with further training or development or even creating new positions within the organization .

In conclusion, an effective employee placement system is crucial for maximizing the potential of an organization’s workforce . By carefully assessing employees’ skills and assigning them to suitable roles, businesses can improve productivity, promote job satisfaction and engagement and ultimately achieve their goals more efficiently .

How To Use The 9-Box Grid Model ?

The 9-Box Grid Model is a management tool that is used to assess the performance and potential of employees within an organization . It consists of a 3×3 grid, with one axis representing performance and the other representing potential . The model helps managers and leaders allocate resources effectively, identify top-performing employees and plan for future talent needs .

So, how can you use this model effectively in your organization ? Here are some steps to follow :

  • Step 1 : Understand the Criteria

Before using the 9-Box Grid Model, it’s crucial to understand the criteria used to evaluate performance and potential . Each company may have its own specific criteria, but some common factors include job knowledge, communication skills, leadership abilities, adaptability and overall contribution to organizational goals .

  • Step 2 : Identify Employees for Evaluation

The next step is to select employees for evaluation . Ideally, all employees should go through this process, but if that’s not possible due to time or resource constraints, then focus on key positions or high-potential individuals . It’s important to note that evaluations should be fair and unbiased .

  • Step 3 : Plot Employees in the Grid

Using the predetermined criteria, plot each employee into their respective box on the grid based on their current performance level and perceived potential for growth . This will give you a visual representation of where each employee stands in terms of their contributions and development opportunities .

  • Step 4 : Analyze Results

Once all employees have been plotted on the grid, take a step back and analyze the results . This will help you identify patterns and trends, such as high-potential individuals in specific areas or underperforming employees in certain roles .

  • Step 5 : Develop Action Plans

Based on the results of the grid, develop action plans for each employee . For top performers with high potential, consider offering them growth opportunities and challenging projects to keep them motivated . For underperformers with low potential, focus on developing their skills and providing guidance and support .

  • Step 6 : Use the Grid for Talent Management

The 9-Box Grid Model can also be used for talent management purposes, such as succession planning . With a clear understanding of an employee’s performance and potential, managers can identify future leaders within the organization and make informed decisions about their career progression .

  • Step 7 : Regularly Review and Update

Lastly, it’s important to regularly review and update the 9-Box Grid to reflect any changes in employee performance or potential . This will ensure that your talent management efforts are aligned with current organizational needs .

In conclusion, the 9-Box Grid Model is a powerful tool for evaluating employee performance and potential . By using it effectively, you can identify top talent within your organization, plan for future talent needs and promote a culture of continuous growth and development .

What Are The Steps For Implementing The 9-Box Grid Model ?

The -Box Grid Model, also known as the Nine-Box Model or the Performance-Potential Matrix, is a popular tool used in talent management and human resources to evaluate employees’ performance and potential . It is essentially a grid divided into nine squares, with performance on one axis and potential on the other . This allows companies to visually identify employees’ strengths, weaknesses and future development opportunities .

To effectively use the -Box Grid Model, there are several steps that need to be followed . In this section, we will walk you through each step of the implementation process .

  • Step 1 : Define Performance and Potential Criteria

Before using the -Box Grid Model, it is essential to define what performance and potential mean for your organization . These definitions may vary from company to company based on their goals and objectives . Generally, performance can be measured by factors such as goal achievement, productivity levels, quality of work, etc ., while potential refers to an employee’s ability to grow and take on new challenges in their role .

  • Step 2 : Identify Key Competencies

Next, it is crucial to identify key competencies that are relevant for your organization’s success . These competencies can include technical skills specific to a job role as well as soft skills like communication, leadership qualities, teamwork abilities . Assigning weightage to each competency will help in accurately evaluating an employee’s overall performance level .

  • Step 3 : Gather Data

Once the criteria and competencies have been established, it is time to gather data for each employee . This can include performance evaluations, 360-degree feedback and other relevant information such as training records, project results, etc . It is essential to collect data from multiple sources to get a well-rounded view of an employee’s performance and potential .

  • Step 4 : Plot Employees on the Grid

Using the collected data, plot each employee on the -Box Grid Model based on their performance and potential levels . This grid can be divided into three categories – High Performers with High Potential (Top Talent), Low Performers with High Potential (High Potentials), High Performers with Low Potential (Solid Contributors) and Low Performers with Low Potential (Poor Performers) . Each category will have its own set of development needs and opportunities .

  • Step 5 : Analyze Results

After plotting employees on the grid, you can analyze the results to identify trends and patterns within your organization . This analysis can help in understanding where your company’s top talent lies, areas where there is a potential for growth and where development efforts are needed .

  • Step 6 : Develop Action Plans

Based on the results of the analysis, develop action plans for each category of employees . For top performers with high potential, focus on creating career growth opportunities to retain them within the organization . For high potentials, create development plans that help them bridge their performance gap . For solid contributors, provide opportunities for growth and advancement in their current role . And for poor performers, provide coaching and training to improve their performance .

  • Step 7 : Monitor Progress

Regularly monitor the progress of employees’ development plans through follow-up evaluations and feedback . This will help determine if the efforts put into improving performance and potential have been effective or if any additional steps need to be taken .

  • Step 8 : Update Regularly

To keep the -Box Grid Model relevant and useful, it is essential to update it regularly . As employees’ performances and potentials change over time, it is necessary to re-evaluate and re-plot them on the grid . This will also help in identifying any changes in trends or patterns within the organization’s talent pool .

In conclusion, the -Box Grid Model can be an effective tool for talent management when used correctly . By defining criteria, gathering data, analyzing results and developing action plans based on employee performance and potential levels, organizations can identify their top talent, develop high potentials, retain solid contributors and improve poor performers . Regular updates to the grid will ensure that companies stay on top of their talent management game .

What Are The Common Mistakes To Avoid ?

When it comes to designing a website or layout, using a grid system can greatly assist in creating a visually appealing and organized design . One popular grid system is the -Box Grid Model, which uses columns and rows to structure content on a webpage . This model is commonly used by designers as it allows for flexibility and adaptability in creating responsive designs .

However, even with its popularity, many designers still make common mistakes when utilizing the -Box Grid Model . These mistakes can lead to an unbalanced layout, inconsistent spacing and overall poor user experience . To ensure that you use this grid model effectively, here are some common mistakes to avoid :

  • Using too many columns :

One of the most frequent mistakes made when using the -Box Grid Model is using too many columns . With so many options available for customization, it may be tempting to divide your layout into numerous columns for added complexity . However, this can result in cluttered designs that are challenging to navigate and visually overwhelming for users .

To avoid this mistake, it’s best to stick with a maximum of six columns per row . Anything more than that can make your design unnecessarily complicated and distract from your content .

  • Not accounting for gutter space :

Gutter space refers to the spaces between each column in the grid system . It serves as visual separation between content blocks while also allowing room for responsiveness on different devices .

Many designers often overlook gutter space or use inconsistent spacing throughout their design, resulting in an unbalanced look . It’s essential to consider and adjust gutter space to maintain consistency and balance throughout your layout .

  • Ignoring breakpoints :

Breakpoints are specific widths at which the design layout will change to fit the screen size of different devices . They allow for a responsive design that can adapt to various screens, such as desktop, tablet and mobile .

Ignoring breakpoints can lead to poorly designed layouts that appear unprofessional on certain devices . It’s important to take into account these breakpoints and adjust grid columns accordingly for each screen size .

  • Neglecting the hierarchy of elements :

The -Box Grid Model allows for a variety of content blocks and elements within its columns . With this flexibility, it’s essential to consider the hierarchy of elements carefully . This means placing more important content in larger or more prominent blocks and organizing less critical information in smaller or lesser areas .

Neglecting this hierarchy can result in an unbalanced layout where critical information is lost among less important content . Strategically planning out hierarchy can help create a visually pleasing design that guides users through your content seamlessly .

  • Not considering content length :

When using a grid system, it’s common for designers to create fixed height content blocks within each column . However, this approach can lead to issues when working with variable-length content such as text , images and videos .

To avoid this mistake, it’s best to use a flexible height approach for your content blocks . This allows the content within each column to adjust in length while maintaining the overall structure of your layout .

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can effectively use the -Box Grid Model to create visually appealing and organized designs that enhance user experience . Remember to carefully plan out your grid system and make adjustments as needed to ensure a successful design .

What Are The Benefits of Using the 9-Box Grid Model ?

The 9-Box Grid Model is a powerful performance evaluation and development tool that has gained popularity in the business world . It is a matrix used to evaluate employees based on two factors – their current performance and their potential for future growth . This model plots employees on a grid with nine boxes, each representing a different combination of performance and potential .

So, what are the benefits of using this model ? Let’s dive in and find out .

  • Clear Identification of High-Potential Employees :

One of the main benefits of the 9-box grid model is its ability to clearly identify high-potential employees within an organization . By plotting an employee’s current performance against their potential, this model helps managers pinpoint individuals who have the ability and drive to take on higher-level roles in the future . This allows organizations to focus their resources on developing these key talents, ultimately leading to better succession planning .

  • Facilitates Objective Performance Evaluations :

The 9-box grid model provides a structured approach to evaluating employees without any bias or subjectivity . It relies on specific criteria such as skills, competencies, achievements, etc ., rather than personal opinions or favoritism . This ensures fair evaluations that are based solely on an individual’s actual performance and potential for growth .

  • Provides Insightful Talent Analytics :

With its visual representation of employee data, the 9-box grid model offers valuable insights into an organization’s talent pool . It allows HR professionals and managers to see patterns across teams or departments, enabling them to identify strengths and weaknesses in specific areas . This information can be used to develop targeted training and development programs, which can improve employee performance and drive business growth .

  • Helps Identify Skill Gaps :

By mapping an employee’s current competencies against their future potential, the 9-box grid model also highlights any skill gaps that may exist within an organization . This allows HR professionals to create targeted learning and development plans for individuals or teams, ensuring that the organization has the necessary skills to achieve its long-term goals .

  • Supports Succession Planning :

Succession planning involves identifying and developing employees who have the potential to fill key roles within the organization in the future . The 9-box grid model is an excellent tool for this purpose, as it helps identify high-potential employees who can be groomed for leadership positions . By using this model, organizations can ensure a smooth transition when top-level executives retire or leave the company .

  • Encourages Continuous Development :

The 9-box grid model is not just a one-time evaluation tool; it also serves as a roadmap for continuous development . Managers can use this model to track an employee’s progress over time and set realistic goals for their growth and development . It also encourages ongoing conversations between managers and employees, facilitating a culture of continuous learning and development .

In conclusion, the 9-box grid model offers several benefits for organizations looking to evaluate and develop their workforce . By using this model, businesses can identify high-potential employees, address skill gaps and support succession planning – all of which contribute to long-term success and growth .

How To Identify High-Potential Employees ?

The first step in implementing the 9-Box Grid Model is to identify high-potential employees within your organization . High-potentials are individuals who demonstrate strong potential for leadership and future advancement within the company . They possess exceptional skills, motivation and drive and have the ability to adapt to new challenges and opportunities .

But how do you identify these high-potentials ? Here are some key characteristics to look out for :

  • Performance :

High-potential employees consistently perform at a level above their peers . They meet or exceed performance targets, take initiative in solving problems and show a strong commitment to achieving organizational goals .

  • Learning agility :

These individuals have a thirst for knowledge and are always seeking opportunities to learn and develop new skills . They quickly adapt to changing environments and eagerly take on new challenges .

  • Leadership potential :

High-potential employees possess natural leadership qualities such as effective communication, emotional intelligence and the ability to inspire and motivate others . They also demonstrate the potential to lead diverse teams towards success .

  • Innovation :

These employees are not afraid of taking risks or thinking outside of the box . They come up with creative solutions to problems, constantly seek ways to improve processes, products or services and embrace change as an opportunity for growth .

  • Engagement :

High-potential employees are highly engaged with their work and the company’s mission . They actively contribute ideas for improvement, show a sense of ownership in their role and build strong relationships with colleagues across different levels of the organization .

  • Alignment with company values :

Lastly, high-potential employees align with the company’s core values and embody them in their work and interactions . They understand and believe in the company’s mission and goals and consistently demonstrate behaviors that reflect its culture .

Once you have identified these high-potential employees, it is important to continuously monitor their progress, provide opportunities for development and ensure fair and equitable treatment within the organization .


The 9-box grid model can also help companies address issues related to diversity and inclusion in the workplace . By considering factors beyond just performance, such as potential and skills, this model provides a more holistic approach to talent management . It allows organizations to identify and develop diverse talent from all backgrounds, ensuring a balanced and inclusive workforce .

Moreover, the 9-box grid model is not a one-time process but rather an ongoing tool for continuous evaluation and development of employees . Regular reviews of this model can ensure that employees’ progress is monitored and their growth opportunities are identified . This will not only boost individual performance but also contribute to the overall success of the organization .

It is important to note that the 9-box grid model is not a substitute for effective leadership or personal development efforts . Instead, it acts as a complement to these initiatives by providing a visual representation of an employee’s current status and potential growth path within the company .

In summary, the 9-box grid model offers valuable insights into an organization’s talent pool and helps leaders make informed decisions about employee development, promotions and succession planning . By utilizing this tool efficiently, organizations can build strong leadership pipelines that drive sustainable growth and success while creating a positive work culture where employees feel valued and engaged .

Hello everyone ! I am the creator and webmaster of website . Specialized in Technology Intelligence and Innovation ( Master 1 Diploma in Information and Systems Science from the University of Aix-Marseille, France ), I write tutorials allowing you to discover or take control of the tools of ICT or Technological Intelligence . The purpose of these articles is therefore to help you better search, analyze ( verify ), sort and store public and legal information . Indeed, we cannot make good decisions without having good information !

scroll to top