Use 9-Box to Identify our High Performers and Improve Significant contributor.

Lunge Systems
2 min readJun 29, 2022


The 9 box model is a widely used tool in talent management. It’s been around since the 1970s and seems like it still has a lot to offer in the 21st century. It is also known as a 9 box grid or a 9 box matrix.

The 9 box model was developed by McKinsey & Company. This management consultancy firm worked extensively with General Electric in the 1970s. It was in that line of work where the model initially emerged.

The remarkable thing about the 9 box matrix is that it was used to compare business units and not employees. Also, the used criteria were different. The model quickly proved to be transferable to other areas. Nowadays, HR professionals apply the grid to identify employee growth potential based on current performance scores.

The 9-box grid is most commonly used in succession planning as a method of evaluating an organization’s current talent and identifying potential leaders. When leadership performance and potential are assessed and plotted on the graph, individuals in the upper right quadrant (Box 1) are identified as high-potential candidates for succession, while those in the lower left quadrant (Box 9) may need to be reassigned or removed from the organization.


Hiring good people is tough. Retaining your best talent can be equally challenging.

The 9-box talent grid categorizes your people into nine categories. The grid contains two axes, performance and potential, each of which includes three levels each: low, moderate, and high. When you match up the categories on the axes, you get nine boxes that become classifications.

The easiest way is to assign people to the categories is based on your experience working with them. Or, if you’re in a larger organization, collect inputs from managers and aggregate the results.

The 9-box grid provides a snapshot in time. Use the tool to continually assess and reassess your talent. You’ll see some people move up and to the right while others may stay stagnant. Use these trends to help people grow. It won’t improve just your organizational culture but also improve your business.



Lunge Systems

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