The best companies don't simply live in the moment. They look one year, two years, five or 10 years down the road for business opportunities, both for the shorter term and the longer. They have a strategy for more than just the here and now.

Moreover, better-performing firms apply that same long-term thinking to people management. A report released in August by the Boston Consulting Group and the World Federation of People Management Associations stated that high-performing companies are twice as likely as low-performing companies to make future leadership planning an integral part of people planning. They also do more to attract and develop talented people, including having a higher likelihood of maintaining programs for "emerging" as well as "high" potential employees.

See Also: Manufacturing Workforce Management Best Practices

"They systematically define development requirements for high-potential employees; for example, they maintain a list of critical assignments appropriate for the development of high potentials much more often than low-performing companies do," state the authors of the report "From Capability to Profitability." Those high-performing companies, by the way, are "highly skilled in core HR practices" and experience both higher revenue growth and profit margins than their less-capable brethren.

In short, if you aren't nurturing your high-potential employees, you're missing out on an opportunity to help boost your bottom line. You're also in danger of drying up your leadership pipeline.