Are you a high-pot (high potential)?

Most organization identify their high potential employees as a candidate for managerial positions and high offices. Even the processes for developing list of high potential vary but the rising stars who make the grade are remarkably similar in their characteristic and behavior. So, that’s what we’ll look into today.

The 4 intangible factors are

  1. A drive to excel;
  2. A catalytic learning capability;
  3. An enterprising spirit; and
  4. Dynamic sensors that detect opportunities and obstacles.

Its basically you need to want to excel, know where you’re lacking and actually do something about that as well as being a team player and taking the opportunities that come your way.

Getting onto a high potential list is extremely desirable but it will require sacrifices. And the consequences of failing after been given the honor can be substantial and even permanent.

A little bit more on the topic

High potentials consistently and significantly outperform their peer groups in variety of settings and circumstances. While achieving these superior levels of performance, they also shows behaviors which reflects their companies’s culture and values in an exemplary manner. Moreover, they show strong capacity to grow and succeed throughout their careers within an organization, more quickly and effectively than their peer groups do.

(1) Deliver strong results with credibility

Making your KPIs is important but it isn’t enough. You’ll most likely not going on the high potential list if at the expense of someone else, or in simple term, back-stabbing.

Competence is the baseline quality for high performance. But credibility also need to be proven trough trust and confidence among your colleagues and, thereby influencing a wide array of stakeholders. Credibility is important to get the backing from your team which everyone needed. Even the mountains need the ground to stand on.

(2) Master new expertise

Early in your career, getting noticed is all about mastering the required technical expertise. But as we progress, we need to broaden that expertise. You start by managing an employee or a small group, then move on to larger teams and position. This would requires you to exercise influence despite limited formal authority.

According to Simon Sinek, leadership nowadays is about influence rather than formal authority. The type of leadership on which the team members would push beyond what required of them.

At a certain point, you’ll face the challenge of letting go as much as the challenge of adding on. This is a lesson which is hard to learn. This applies to me too, I was really sure I’m right, only to be proven wrong. So either I concede or fight, since I’m rather quite good at arguments. I conceded of course, since I’m a firm believer in Ray Dalio’s The Principles, which is brutal honesty and transparency. I learnt more from being wrong and proven wrong rather than being right all the time.

Therefore, remember to ask yourself,

“How do you know you’re right?”

(3) Know that behavior counts

Manners are very important. Just like The Rock Dwayne Johnson eloquently put it

“It’s nice to be important, but is’s important to be nice”,

Although your performance gets you noticed and promoted early in your career, but your behavior is what keeps you on the radar as a high potential. Know that outstanding skills never really diminish in importance, but they become given as you are expected to excel in technical expert role or even managerial role.

So, you must be both a role model and a teacher.


Our work life and career makes a significant portion of our live, and yes, getting onto the high-pot list is awesome, but its not all important. Remember, don’t be too obsessive on it, beside, everybody is replaceable. So, focus on growing yourself as a person, and always strive to be the hardest worker in the room. But once your time at the office is over, don’t bring your work home.

It’s then, a family and ‘me’ time.


Categories: Careers & Work Life Pro Tip, Personal Development

Tags: , , ,

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