High Performance is not the same as High Potential

We have all seen that employee, the one so good at their job no one can hold a candle to them.

I have seen it a thousand times: the soldier who was the best shot in the Regiment, the carpenter who built houses that could withstand a hurricane, or the warehouseman who knew where everything was.

All of these people and many, many more are examples of high performers.

But that soldier was always in trouble; the carpenter was promoted and failed as a supervisor, and the warehouseman would never give the last box of widgets out because he would have none left.

A soldier who can only do one thing and not get along with his peers is not a good soldier.

The warehouseman who cannot see his job as more than neat rows of shelves is a detriment to your operations.

And the world is full of poor site-superintendents who were, at one time, great carpenters,

Of course, functional ability and competency are essential.

But the difference between high performance and high potential is something you can easily spot.

What does it look like?




Consistently exceed expectations and have a track record of getting the job done.

Have demonstrated an initial aptitude for their technical abilities.
Take pride in their accomplishments.  The high performers determine their standards when it comes to quality results.
 May not have the potential (or desire) to succeed in a higher-level role. Have the ability and the aspiration to be successful leaders within an organization.
Need constant encouragement and challenging assignments. Work to understand the business on a deeper level and how it can significantly impact its success.



There is nothing wrong with high performance; we need these technically advanced people in our organization and reward and motivate them respectfully and fairly.

But DO NOT confuse High Performance with leadership potential.

As organizational leaders, we need to be ever vigilant with the high-potential people in our companies because they are often quiet and unassuming compared to their high-performing coworkers.

You can often hire technical expertise.

But you may never find that one leader you need to ensure your organization has the health and strength to succeed!