I’ve about had it with potential being treated as some mythical superpower that only a select few people have. The fact is, we all have potential to be great. It’s built in to us and is something that we can strengthen like a muscle. We say that some people have a lot of potential while others don’t, and we treat those whose potential isn’t as visible as second rate. If you really pay attention to the way our focus on potential has effected our businesses, the results have been disappointing.
Visible potential is something to easily get excited about. The possibilities of where something could go, be it a pending bid or a new employee, are always energizing to imagine. The issue is that we let our imaginations get the best of us and wind up somewhere far away from where we expected to be. Potential only gets us as far as it is used.
There is another trait that we should focus on. It’s one that will not only build greater potential as time goes on, but will use it effectively to create an awesome result. It’s called drive, and it’s a trait missing from many of the people that we hire “because they have potential”. Drive is what causes the unskilled to become skilled and the skilled to become masters. It’s the factor that pushes results into reality despite the setbacks.
Drive is also something that can be objectively tested for, and therefore hired for more reliably. Challenges can be set up for interviewees that will allow them to compete positively for the position at hand. Asking potential employees to identify what motivates them to see if it’s a fit for your company, giving them a task to complete and finding out how far “above and beyond” they go to complete it, or asking them to describe what they like and don’t like about a particular topic are some good ways to find out. The person who is driven to do well will always shine, even if their skill set is inferior to other candidates.
Let us know your experiences with potential and drive in the comments. We’d love to find out if you have any other insights into identifying drive in a potential candidate. Have an awesome hump day!