Can you Spot Potential? Releasing the Horsepower Under Your Nose

Release your 'Horsepower' potential!

I have a great Buddy (at least he was a great buddy until I posted this blog), Rory Mc Dyer. Rory is the local travel agent in Clontarf and one of life’s all round good guys. For the past 5 years, Rory, myself and four other guys go to Portugal for a golf trip. So, we know each other pretty well at this stage.

Silverback Gorilla: For the non-golfers among you, let me use a non-technical term. Rory hits the ball like a Silverback Gorilla. It goes an absolute mile. But then there is the small matter of finesse, getting it into the cup for a low overall score. Oops! Last year we played one very difficult course and we jokingly referred to it as a ‘hill walking exercise’ because Rory’s ball was up the side of the mountain more often than on the fairway. And we took endless delight in ribbing him about this. As you do!

Musical Director: Among Rory’s many accomplishments is the fact that he is the Musical Director for Whitehall Music Society. Every year they put on a Christmas Carol Service in the Holy Child (the big redbrick Church) in Whitehall. I’d been threatening to go for a couple of years and eventually made it at Christmas. It had been some time since I was in a church and half expected a bolt of lightening to strike as I entered. It’s a huge space and the church was jam-packed. The ceremony itself was magical, fantastic music, wonderful singing. A tonic.

No Music: On those golf trip to Portugal, we had not discovered Rory’s musical expertise. To the best of my knowledge, no hymns were sung on any previous outings, other than My Way, which, I suppose, is an anthem in its own right. So, there we had this musical genius in our midst, a greatness that we were totally unaware of.

Hidden Talent: In many work organizations a similar dynamic is at play. There are great people, with wonderful talents ‘under your nose’. People crying out to be given an opportunity to grow and develop, to learn new skills or demonstrate stuff they already know. But somehow you have them labeled. You see them as the ‘green’ 22 year old that you hired 10 years ago or you’ve become fixated on some mistake they made as a junior employee (and they are still carrying the scars). And the prize is big. Securing an extra 10% discretionary effort, is the equivalent of AIB hiring an additional 1600 staff.

The real War for Talent is not about hiring the best Money Trader or Civil Engineer from your competitor. It is not about ‘new horses’ at all – but releasing the horsepower that is already in house. It’s about seeing potential rather than past sins. Don’t be stuck with a 2002 mindset, a decade out of date. Like Simon Cowell and the X Factor team, can you really spot ‘potential’? When you do, let your staff know that it’s time to start writing the next chapter in their personal story.

Paul Mooney

PS One of the main banks has asked me to add all of their Regional Managers to the distribution list for this blog. They are under cost pressures and this is a zero cost form or management development. If a similar arrangement would work in your organization, just let me know.

Lighter Moment of the Week: Someone said to me recently : “If you look like your passport photo, you are too sick to travel”. Honestly, those airport security guards just go too far sometimes!


About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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