High Potential Employees -Potential Is NOT Performance

High Potential Employees Are Great…. But Are They Enough?

High potential employees get bosses very excited. There is a natural sense that rising stars will be the future of how our company will grow and succeed. But the reality is the future leadership over the long term of many companies is not coming from the high potential talent.

The Harvard Business Review had an interesting article in October 2017 (“What Science Says About High-Potential Employees”)  that looked at how these superstars contribute the the company at high levels over time. Investing in the right people is key to success, but it is not always clear who you you should be putting in a development program. You must make sure the high potential leaders in whom you invest have a good mix of ability, social skills, and drive.

Another issue is that many of these future leaders that you invest in and promote to leadership roles may or may not stay with your company over the long run. Too often companies are wasting high potential program spots on people who take the extra knowledge and more on to work for your competitors.

High Potential Employees - Training Class with Thom SingerWhat is a company to do with their Hi-Po employees?

Employee engagement and a positive company culture are key to your overall success in getting a pay back in your talent management for Hi-Po employees. Letting them feel they are part of the long-term vision and that they can see a successful career path is necessary if you want to experience the results of their ongoing high performance.

Thus, potential alone is not enough.  Corporate keynote speaker, Thom Singer, has developed an amazing program for company team meetings called “The Paradox of Potential”.  This customized and engaging workshop is ever hr leader’s dream presentation.

Why is there a paradox around the potential of your high level employees?  It is because potential is not a solution, and it is not the same as results.  This employee focused interactive discussion goes beyond a lecture on succession planning. Too often companies have training that sounds smart when booking the meeting, but after the event there are no changes.  

The Paradox of Potential gets everyone in the meeting involved in talking about what is holding the individuals, teams, and the whole organization from getting closer to reaching potential. We cannot simply build a bridge across the gap between potential and results and expect to drive all participants across the chasm in a magic school bus. The gap is real, but it is not simple to navigate.

There are different things impacting each person on a team, and thus there has to be a customized approach and a group understanding of how each person’s actions impact the whole.

Companies are changed when they hold a programs that are not created via a guess from the boss on what is the problem, but instead changes occur when you tap into the emotional intelligence of the entire team.

The Paradox of Potential

The Paradox of Potential“ is Thom Singer’s newest keynote and workshop. Having “high potential” does not mean performing at maximum capability. While many believe they are doing all they can, a huge number of professionals are frustrated because they and their teams are coming up short of expectations. Some have become paralyzed from taking risks by the fear of failure, while others are not sure what is holding them back.  

Thom Singer has surveyed hundreds of people and the feedback is stunning that the majority of people are confident they should be having greater success in their career.

Large companies and entrepreneurial ventures in all sectors have employees who have reached a plateau or have become stuck in the “high middle”.  Once you know there is a very real gap between potential and results, Thom Singer is the person you need to hire to help create the path to better achievements.  

Beyond excuses and finger pointing, this interactive presentation gets to the heart of how people view their potential and ways to accomplish more while enjoying their work. For decades companies have been identifying and training their “high potential” employees, but these individuals are not always growing into the organization’s future leaders.  There is a clear paradox around potential.

Looking to the future

The “future of work”  is about more than telecommuting and stand up desks. Finding ways to embrace passion, plans and the people around you is key to long term success. Those who are focused on goal setting, realistic assessments, teamwork, successful human engagement, cross-selling, and other skills will help their company reach the highest potential and be more fulfilled in their jobs.

This gap is true for individuals and organizations and any company with high potential employees should be having these important conversations.  It is common to see a startup or established company with high levels of potential, only to later witness it being shut down.

While it is not possible to achieve full potential (as once you get there, new opportunities will appear that create more opportunity), the constant struggle to bridge the gap will not happen by accident. Nobody should be comfortable relying on luck as the answer to their future.

Engage your high potential employees with “The Paradox of Potential” conversation and change how they perform.

Call now to bring Thom Singer to speak at your next meeting.  Visit www.ThomSinger.com or call (512) 970-0398.  


  1. Take ownership of your life
    2. Set clear goals
    3. Work past the fear
    4. Connect with people
    5. Be aggressive with gratitude
    6. Deliver on all projects
    7. Accept that change happens
    8. Ask for help and delegate
    9. Try new things
    10. Believe in yourself

While the above list seems overly simplified to many, the conversations that are created with every company team around these ideas are incredibly impactful for all who participate in this High Potential Employee training workshop.

In today’s highly competitive world, organizations cannot rely on the same old trainers and presenters who have been doing their workshops.  Fresh perspectives from industry experts, like Thom Singer, and meaningful and candid open discussions with everyone in the company are how you navigate the gaps for each person.

The best success comes when everyone on a team realized that their potential is interwoven and they understand that different employees have any number of things holding them back. Creating unique but shared paths for everyone and letting all on board find their own pace across the gap is key to success.  

While not all team members are high potential employees, everyone has potential and everyone must feel they are part of the long term solutions for the company.

How will your team perform in the next year? Do you have a paradox around your potential?  Is there a need for employee training? Get clear and begin to focus on the results that can be accomplished.