It’s easy to talk about reaching your potential. However, does anyone really have a roadmap, or is there actually one that exists to help you or your team achieve its maximum potential? Or, once you reach your or a team’s potential, is it possible to maintain this potential?
These are all really difficult and profound questions to consider, let alone answer. In terms of having a roadmap, yes, it is possible to have one, especially if you intend to get to where you desire to be. Potential can be a subjective concept, and depending on what you are measuring, your measurement criteria may or may not be accurate.
Some potential is more elusive and difficult to quantify. For example, people who are considered friendly and able to converse with anyone may have potential to have a career in sales. For those of you in sales, you know there are varying degrees of being a good conversationalist, and it might not have anything to do with being friendly. So, if you were in a position to judge someone’s potential about whether they would be successful in sales, you would likely need to factor in other criteria to help you.
Measuring potential is not a single dimension exercise. When you factor in assessing more than one person’s potential and are asked to determine an entire team’s collective potential, this becomes much more challenging to do. However, I have found it is possible to do this type of measurement. In addition to leveraging the Gallup StrengthsFinder Survey to determine each team members Top 5 strengths, there are a number of other criteria I overlay to help me.
Here are some of the criteria I apply to help me determine both an individual, as well as a team’s success potential.
- You need to assess the motivation level of each person on the team. This can be achieved by asking them a series of questions which will reveal what their current motivation level is, and what level they have the capacity to get to.
- Different from assessing someone’s motivation level, is determining what motivates them. You might be surprised by the variety of answers, and they are not all driven by tangible things you might expect to hear them tell you.
- Each person has a different definition of what success means. When you find out what theirs is, it can provide clear insight into what their potential level is.
- Find out what the team leader is doing to serve as a role model to help inspire and motivate their team to reach each of their potentials, as well as for the collective team potential.
- Asking someone to visualize and then describe their vision of reaching their potential isn’t something most people are asked, especially in the workplace. This is more commonly asked in the sports team industry. However, it is a powerful method for both the individual as well as their leader to have insight into how the person perceives what their potential can look like.
There are numerous other methods I apply when I am helping leaders and teams help to assess people’s potential. All of the suggestions above can be applied to any industry, profession or career level.
In terms of addressing whether it is possible to sustain potential, my take on this is that it tends to vary. However, a high level of potential can be both achieved and maintained given the right circumstances to foster and nurture an individual or team’s potential. Consider whether you are a guardian of others potential, or detracting from it.
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.
Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.