Hidden High Potentials

Top Two Features of Real Genius (it’s not giant popcorn bombs…)

Sand bucket on the beach of Punta del Este, Uruguay. David (CC BY 2.0)

What makes up a Genius? Most of us in North America imagine the “geniuses” who come up with great new ideas as people who seem to have everything lined up, who don’t need anyone else because it’s their singular genius that makes the day. True brilliance shows in people who get everything done the right way, quickly and efficiently. They are born that way, ready to go.

The science writer B…

That Bad Job Can Destroy You. Forever.

News editors' room, Seattle Daily Times, c. 1900

Did you ever stop and think of what that bad job, the one where you don’t fit and is so stressful, is doing to you long term? You should. Because it could be destroying any future you have, even your very soul.

After the second Great War, many of the orphanages were severely understaffed. A researcher studied what happened when these babies, who had enough nutrition and acceptab…

Here’s what a great workplace looks like – high performance teams

Members of Sokol club in sport costumes, approx. 1900. author: Šechtl a Vose?ek Uploaded with approval of inheritors of the copyright

What does a great workplace look like? Walter Ulmer took a stab at defining it over 25 years ago. He saw that there was a big difference between regular teams and high performance teams, one where everyone took it to the next level.

And what is the essence of a “supportive” climate that promotes esprit and gives birth to “high performing units”? It may be easier to feel or sense than to…

You Change Your Mind – And That’s Not Normal

Man raising his eyebrow. ? 2008 Lee J Haywood. Via Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

If you’re old enough to bother reading this, you likely can look over your life and see the points at which you have changed your mind. Or finessed one of your pet theories of life. To you this seems like a normal process, one that comes with aging and growing.

It’s not.

You’re weird.

And it makes people see you as wishy-washy or “compromising”. More after t…

How Simply Being BIgger (like a Hidden High Potential) Gets You Arrested

Volunteer Jennifer Van Vleet experiences what it would be like to be arrested after failing a field sobriety test. (2009) Orgeon Dept. of Transportation. (CC BY 2.0)

When you are bigger than everyone else, you are much more likely to get hammered for irritating people. It doesn’t matter if that’s physical size or “work” size, where you have the capability to do a larger job than the people around you.

This is one of the key problems of Hidden High Potentials (HHPs). Work comes in different sizes, and people’s capability comes in different sizes to matc…

Forget, Then Forgive to Move Forward (and not the other way around)

Lighthouse at night, (c) 2009 Martin Belam. Via flickr. (CC BY SA 2.0)

In my lessons on the Tao of Joe: Redeeming Our Stories, I’ve pointed out that the patriarch’s model was to forget well before he ever forgave. Forgetting not only the wrongs, he forgot those who had wronged him (in his case, his brothers).

Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh (Forget), saying, “God made me forget all my hardships and my parental home.” [Genesis 40, The Message]


The Power of Mentoring (And Why You Didn’t Get It)

Gov. Martin Henry Glynn with his secretary, Frank Tierney ca. 1913, By Bain News Service via Library of Congress

[updated 2013 August 29]

Did you ever think that the reason why you didn’t get a mentor was that it was almost impossible to mentor you? A good mentoring relationship requires you to share a growth trajectory in how you handle complexity.

Most people’s capacity for handling complex work issues increases over time along predictable paths once in their 20s.

It sounds pretty…

In The NFL, Don’t Be Smarter Than Your Boss (like all jobs)

Football men exercising, Harvard. (LOC). Bain News Service, ca. 1910

Greg McElroy’s alleged Wonderlic score has been leaked and it’s created a buzz. The Wonderlic is a part of the bevy of tests the NFL puts draftees through and generally measures what is known as “general mental ability”.

SEC standout quarterback McElroy’s problem is that his Wonderlic score is almost 2 times as high as the average NFL quarterback. And QBs are known as the smartest guys on t…

GenX: Prepare to get shafted. Again.

Typical traction lift design-(c) 2011 Harrihealey02 (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia

Let’s start out the new year with the fortunes of the so-called 13th generation, the decried Generation X (born 1961 to 1979): you are totally screwed.

Here are some interesting facts about this most despised generation, using data for the United States:

Test scores for the class born in 1961 include 10% less A’s and 10% more C’s than that born just a year earlier.

Abortion rates…

Why Hidden High Potentials Aren’t Trusted

Man raising his eyebrow. ? 2008 Lee J Haywood. Via Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Trust, it seems, is the glue that makes organizations sing. But you don’t necessarily need much of it to succeed. And you can simply eat off the store trust (social capital) built through long years of hard work by those who came before.

Come to think of it, it doesn’t take long to eat through a century’s worth of social capital.

I’ve been thinking about this as a result of reading Francis…

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