Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Breadth and Depth of Tapping the Human Potential

Human potential is like Spring Water, the deeper you dig, the more it flows out.

Potential is about the ability to grow and develop into something in the future. There are physical potential, intellectual potential, and spiritual potential. How to unleash the abundance of human potential is perhaps one of the best rewarding areas for human society advancement. But it is the arena still full of myth. Metaphorically, human potential is like Spring Water, the deeper you dig, the more it flows out. To tapping human potential is also like drilling the oil, if exploring too narrowly, you might never detect the right spot; if deploying the shallow field only, you won't touch the right point either. Tapping the limitless human potential is both art and science. It takes the out-of-box thinking and trans-disciplinary approach.

Expand the horizon - The breadth of talent exploration: The very theme for us is that our life is the journey with the knowledge we gain and the experience we accumulate, etc. The life journey is also like the childhood games we played: draw the circle, paint the colors, or connect the dots. The art is which size of the circle you plan to draw. If the circle is too small, it might never have enough wide dots to connect for sparking the fountain of creativity or make a substantial impact on the surrounding; if the circle is too big, you might lose the focus, or run out of energy. Generally speaking, to identify a person’s potential, look for strong evidence of a desire to learn and to grow. High potential people are intellectually curious, with a strong desire to learn and expand their horizon. Individuals showing potential are distinguished usually by their mastery of new roles quickly and effectively, learning more rapidly than their peers, more innovate. Every true digital pro is behind the curve on specific skill sets and wants to learn new stuff. The people who helped to shape our world are some of the broadest and innovative thinkers. The progress of the world is pushed forward by a select few who were applying agile techniques, using broad and diverse talents to create the impossible.

Deepen the understanding- dive into the depth of knowledge sea and climb the insight-wisdom pyramid: People start out broad and narrow. As they progress through their career, they start to become T-shaped, to climb the pyramid of information-knowledge-intelligence-insight-wisdom. Because knowing something is not equal to understanding it, understanding it doesn’t mean you can communicate and coach it effectively; teaching somethings also doesn’t mean you can innovate and co-create the new knowledge; being innovative doesn’t mean you can always capture the insight and abstract wisdom from it, etc. The higher you climb the knowledge-insight pyramid with faster speed, the wiser you become. Only based on insight and wisdom, you can grow into a great leader to unleash the collective human potential effortlessly. In order to tap your potential, investigate your passion, discover your strength, define competency and build capabilities, establish yourselves as a very strong reputation in particular topic area. Strength needs to be built via continuous practices, and competencies are interrelated with the traits and expertise. Neither one overshadows the other, they complement each other.

Building a digital portfolio of coherent capabilities: From a talent management perspective, the potential is about future performance, not past performance. High potential needs to be grown into high capabilities, such as multidimensional thinking capability, change capability, problem-solving capability, creativity, etc. How well does the individual continue to perform and grow in their current roles, how likely are they to take on new challenges at work, rapidly learn and grow into next-level roles, or roles that are expanded and redefined as the business develops? To identify potential and create an authentic organizational culture to encourage employees’ growth, business leaders and talent managers need to pay more attention to those shining spots: Who can bring unique POVs, who can discover better way to solve problems, who can take extra miles to delight customers; who has the courage to debate with bosses to spark creativity, who is just unconventionally different, who can make positive influence on business culture? And who are those transformers to push the business up toward the higher maturity? High potential employees are those who understand that learning is a lifetime experience, and then their experience will be a building block, but for the mediocre who don't set their minds to continuously learn every day, their experience will be a roadblock.

High potential people keep learning for expanding the horizon with growth minds, and they either demonstrate the positive attitude or constructive criticism to build a healthy or even creative workplace. Does "human potential" begin and end with one individual? Or does it encompass collective potential? Individuals need to step outside the box and challenge perception, push themselves to the limit, their limit. It is only when all individuals challenge themselves and then come together as a group will we see real human potential achieved. As a society, we need to respect and encourage change, difference, and uniqueness. It is only then we will see 'Human potential' really show itself. As a society, we should also be striving to create an environment that is egalitarian enough so every individual has, at least, the opportunity to actualize their potential and encompass the collective human potential to advance our society.


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