High Performer Or High Potential—Which One Are You?
A few weeks ago, I was watching the results episode of The Voice. This episode
would determine which contestants would be eliminated and who the final 8 contestants would be. There was one slot left, which would be determined by an instant save vote. Adam Levine, a coach on The Voice had two contestants in the bottom three. One young man had a stellar final performance, the other a young girl could not perform due to illness but was still eligible for the voting. Prior to the start of the voting, Adam had the opportunity to say something about each of his contestants. Of the young man, he said we keep finding ourselves in this situation and I’m not sure why, he also gave him a few encouraging words AND THEN he proceeded to be “THE VOICE” for the young girl who could not perform.
Now I am sure that I am not the only person who yells at the TV, but I was shocked and saying, “Adam what are you doing!!!!”” I kept rewinding the show to see what I was missing because this could not be happening—I needed to understand how Adam, one of my favorite coaches, could be doing this… IT Finally hit me… Adam was advocating for Potential over Performance. Of the two contestants, which had the greatest potential to move forward as part of the final 8. Both were excellent performers and had developed their skills throughout the season, however the young man had a pattern of not being one of the contestants to have enough votes to move forward without having to defend himself and sing his way out of the bottom three. At this juncture if both contestants were eliminated Adam would lose his chance of having a contestant to move forward to the season finale. As I watched the votes, the two contestants were very close and ultimately the young girl emerged as the winner. There is no doubt in my mind that Adam’s endorsement gave her the competitive advantage.
In an instance, Adam shifted from being the coach—providing guidance for development to becoming the sponsor—using his influence to serve as an advocate for the contestant he thought had the greatest potential.
The same happens in the workplace, an employee performs well, gets the job done and are bewildered when someone else is selected for a role or promoted instead. Misunderstanding that being a high performer does not automatically make you a high potential.
High Performers and High Potentials are not mutually exclusive traits. High Performers exceed expectations, they put in the work, continue to develop their technical skills and remain relevant in their chosen profession. They become the go to person and are highly productive.
High Potentials have demonstrated technical abilities, excel in their current roles and have the potential to make an impact. High potentials are interested in where the company is going and takes initiative and responsibilities outside of their current roles.
Are you a high performer and have engaged with a coach, or a high potential whose abilities have been noticed by leaders who are willing to act as a sponsor for you?
As we transition into the new year, I encourage you to pause and review your career goals and objectives. I invite you to engage in our on the spot situational coaching program or create your personal compass with me.
DB Latimore Professional Services Group, LLC is a Human Resources Management firm specializing in maximizing workforce productivity in both organizations and individuals.
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