If you want to be the person who offers real value in a Talent Management discussion, then be the person who demands the truth about performance. Organizations are all about power and equilibrium. Over time, "conventional wisdom" creates the list of high potential candidates. Then, at "developmental discussion" time the same names often keep popping up, unquestioned.
Preparing for my keynote at a Halogen Software User Conference I interviewed some CEO clients and their direct reports. The question: "What would make your HR person a leader in your eyes?" The answer: "Ask the hard questions when a name is proposed for promotion or a new assignment."
The execs shared how easy it is to have someone perform well in one assignment, then have that single success create a "career aura." When it comes time for succession planning and development, no one really questions the totality of the individual's success.
The lesson for HR folks (and the rest of us): Ask for the evidence. Value rests with the one who helps uncover the truth about performance.