In a previous career years ago, I was informed that I was a high potential employee. I was over the moon…
But it then turned to disaster – the following year I was told that I had low potential. Obviously I was devastated.
The story then took another twist – A further twelve months later I was advised I had become a high potential employee again!
My potential was a rollercoaster ride and I couldn’t understand why.
The company I worked in had devised a succinct formula for potential, with clear definitions and criteria. During all three years I had been measured on this clear criteria and I had displayed consistent behaviours.
So what had changed?
Simply put: The people who decided my potential.
Here in lies the problem. Potential, no matter how clearly defined and articulated, will be perceived in vastly different ways by the individuals in that company. It is all about perspective… Which becomes a limiting factor to people reaching their potential!
The facts are no formula for potential will ever overcome an individuals perspective. There are many reasons why this is the case. One of which is because potential is the future – it hasn’t been realised yet – potential is therefore completely unknown!
So, if we can’t predict the future, how can we ever get it right?
I suggest we should take a different approach. I suggest we should stop trying to guess other people’s potential, because it will automatically limit more people’s growth than enable it… and also, who are we to decide what someone else can or can’t do??? That is presumptuous and arrogant!
I suggest we should take this approach instead:
Assume that EVERYONE has unlimited potential.
Assume EVERYONE has the capacity to be great.
This way everyone has an equal opportunity. Therefore we create an environment that enables everyone and limits nobody. Then potential is left to each individual. The people who reach their potential in this environment will be those who take the most action, those who dare to be great, those who recover from failure quickly and dedicate themselves to self improvement.
It then becomes significantly easier to manage potential. Rather than guessing who has it and who doesn’t – Purposely provide EVERYONE the environment to reach for their potential.
Create opportunities for all to flourish. Reward personal development and growth over achievement. Allow failure and encourage creativity.
Then those that reach high, those that strive, are those that have realised their potential. No Guessing required!
“Talent will only get you so far, to become great it takes hours and hours of beating on your craft”
Create the right environment and you will find many more people that exhibit the following:
Do What It Takes:
Driven individuals are determined to become the best version of themselves. This will be more important to them than looking good and getting fast results the wrong way. Instead it is about challenging themselves everyday. Success to these people isn’t a destination… success is a daily habit.
Not Afraid Of Failure:
People who will perceive failure as an opportunity to learn rather than damaging to long-term success. These people won’t waste energy blaming others or licking their wounds. Rather they will analyse the mistakes and work out how to eliminate them in the future.
This means they will be bold and brave – The way to greatness.
Putting it all together:
Potential is unknown and it is arrogant to think some people have it and others don’t. Everyone is capable of amazing things – It is the action they take that will define them.
Don’t guess who has potential and who doesn’t. Instead create the environment where all have the opportunity to take action and you will discover that you have more ‘High Potential’ employees than you realised!