College drop out? Got a degree in “The Simpsons” (yes it exists!)? Never got an education? Don’t worry, it’s all about your potential!

December 2, 2019 Lovisa Taylor

I recently watched one of the best Convergence Key Notes I’ve seen with Kat Cole, President and Chief Operating Officer of FOCUS Brands. One of the main things that stuck with me was how important it is for leaders to ask the right questions and by doing so actually unleashing the potential of not only the employees but also the business.

If you missed this great speaker at Convergence US, please check out our Q&A with her here.

Did you know that potential is both an adjective and a noun? That means we have double of it - potential potential, possible possibilities! It means having the capacity or the underlying abilities to develop something for the future. What’s great about that sentence is that: we all have it! Even if you spent a year studying "The Simpsons" and the philosophy behind it…

When you look into your employee processes, it’s important to remember that is visible at the surface may not be the whole truth. In your recruitment processes, find the potential by not spending all your time on the CV. In your performance process, try looking beyond the current rating and see the progress instead. In your succession planning, find your potential by not only looking at your top performers, but also looking at people who have the capacity to do more but are in the wrong role to do so.

I was not trained to be a Client Success Manager. I was not trained to be a Finance Manager for a small start-up either. I was trained in Philosophy and Church Music, and to be honest a whole lot of other failed attempts at becoming something “real” - but where in the world would I be if that was all I depended on? I never let my failures define what I was capable of. I never let the fact that I was 19 years old and had done some minor bookkeeping for my parent’s farm, stop me from applying for a finance manager job, which I ended up getting. And neither should you. We all can contribute and achieve things if we are in an environment that enables us to grow.

Learning and development is at the core of potential. If there are latent qualities or abilities that reside within us, we need to learn, learn from training, learn from experience, learn from mentoring, learn from trial and error.

To understand what your potential might be, I’ll bring us back to some of the questions that Kat Cole brought up in her Keynote about what to ask when things are stuck and not going so well. I have framed them to apply to you, but these questions can be used for a company, relationship, situation, anything that you might need to find potential and possibilities in.:

  • What are the things you are doing right now that are working well? Are there ways you can enhance these things?
  • What are the things you are doing right now that are not working out? Be very honest here! Sometimes we do lots of things because of tradition, habit, but could be detrimental to your potential.
  • What are other people asking of you that you are not doing now (feedback from peers, managers, co-workers)? It means that they think you can do it but you’re not displaying it at the moment.

Getting inspired to find some of your potential yet? Here are some other tips from my Client Success Manager team that might help you on your way:

  • You won’t know if you don't try.
  • Never give up, always keep looking!
  • “To infinity and beyond” – push those boundaries every day.
  • Don’t let others put you in a pigeonhole – be clear with who you are and what you are capable of.

Talking about potential, I’ll leave you with something I’m very proud of. The Cornerstone Foundation initiative WorkforceReady. WorkforceReady enables underrepresented job seekers to build the foundational skills required for success in the modern workplace. The short, online courses cover essential non-technical skills ranging from collaboration and time management to communication and resume writing. All 100% free. Please look at this inspiring video here.

All the best to you and your potential.

About the Author

Lovisa Taylor

Previously coming from a diverse background, with a most recent focus on Learning and Development, Lovisa helps clients navigate through the trends and strategies of Human Capital Management and how to utilise their product in the best way.

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