Do you have a friend or a co-worker that has amazing potential, but their actual performance consistently comes up short of their potential?  Do they understand why this is?  Can you put your finger on what their challenge is?  

One of the most frequent conversations that I have with leaders is regarding employee potential.  It begins, “Jeff, I have a person on my team that seems to have great potential, but their actual results come in below my expectations.  Can you spend some time with them and help me figure out what is going on?”

How about yourself:  do you feel that you have more potential than you are able to achieve?

Let’s start with one of my favorite formulas in leadership from Tim Gallwey, who described this formula in his book, The Inner Game of Tennis.

P = p - i

P = Performance

p = potential

i = interference

Performance = potential - interference

The goal is to be able to have your performance match your potential, but what gets in the way is your interference. 

Here are some common types of interference I see in my coaching clients: 

·       arrogance,

·       lack of building relationships,

·       overly task orientated,

·       lack of vision,

·       poor planning,

·       poor time management,

·       lack of ability to deliver feedback,

·       poor delegation skills,

·       trouble balancing work and home life,

·       alcohol or drugs and many other things.

Let me present a case study to highlight the challenge.  I am currently working with an executive who is a great problem solver with strong technical skills, strong experiences, great work ethic and who posts great results.  This is a promising beginning and a lot of great talents. What is the problem? This leader struggles to build relationships with peers and direct reports. His intensity, task focus and driving persona make it hard for others to connect with him. Thus, he gets great results on a project, but most people do not want to work with him again because of his intensity.  This interference is keeping him from being as effective as possible.  Additionally, it is keeping him from being promoted.  What should he do?

The good news is that he is aware of this part of his personality.  Next, I let him know that he judges himself by his intentions while others judge him by his impact and actions.  He would mean to start a meeting with an icebreaker question and he would mean to provide recognition at the end of the week.  However, he was not doing these things and his team was frustrated.  He now puts it on his calendar to provide recognition several times a week.  He also gets up a couple times a day and makes his way to see some of his team members.  He can sometimes still be a bit intense in these interactions, but he has worked hard on providing recognition and taking an interest in his team members and peers lives.  The results—people are starting to share more feedback with him, provide ideas and even seek him out. He is being more intentional with his calendar and the impact is positive for his team.

What is your interference that is keeping you from reaching your full potential?  Who can you feedback to help you reach your potential?