Can you envision the "potential"?

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

After spending an hour and a half wandering a property we are thinking of acquiring for the family, I looked at my uncle Tom and asked him what he thought - His response was simply, "It has potential."  As we looked at the thirty-six acre parcel of land (with a steam and a pond), we were not looking at it for what it is today, but rather what it could become in the future. 

A while ago, a former colleague commented on how one of my past hires was becoming very successful; in the same breath, he admitted he didn't understand why I had hired her and didn't think much of her capability at the time - Like my uncle, I said, "She showed great potential".

Potential* by its very definition speaks to the future, but its importance lies in the present; consideration and understanding of "what is" and how it is aligned with your vision, goals and dreams for the future - "Does someone currently have the potential to help build to our common long term goals?" Or even more importantly, "Do I currently have the potential to achieve that vision I've set for myself?"

Potential is a key measure to ensure and validate you are aligned with your vision and longer term goals... there is a cold reality that comes with envisioning yourself as a profession hockey player but not having any ability to skate or any understanding of the game. When hiring someone, ensuring that the person has the ability to be successful in the role is important, but for me, their ability to be bigger than the role is crucial - I have always hired with the next role in mind - Potential is the great motivator, as it cultivates for the future. 

It should be remembered that potential represents the future and does not necessarily reflect current capability (which, over the years I have seen confused and inevitably leads to great disappointment); it is important to remember that potential needs to be developed, fostered and given an environment to flourish.

Potential is of course situational and contextual, but there are some core fundamentals that seem to be common to those who make the most of what they have: 

  • Confidence in their ability and willingness to take on challenges.
  • Strong work ethic, with a desire to go the "extra mile".
  • Work in an environment that fosters potential, with leaders who manage to bring out the best in their people.
  • Have a vision and the tenacity to go after it.
  • The desire to achieve their potential.
  • An understanding that potential can be developed and comes with constant learning.

As I look back on my uncle's comment and our vision for a property and sanctuary that can be used in the years to come, he is right - It does have Potential.

Now it's just a mater of realizing it.


* Potential is defined as latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.