Tag Archives: Potential

Do You Unlock Potential in Others?

Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.
Bill Bradley


The greatest gift I ever received at work was nothing flashy or even something I could display.  I was given the gift of development.  I had a boss who believed in me and felt I could move up in our organization with some fine tuning of my skills.  Craig pushed and prodded me to grow and learn.  He gave me “exposure” and “developmental opportunities”.  This typically meant I was going to be uncomfortable and in things over my head.  There was one year where my comfort zone was so far away I forgot what it looked like.

While I hated the situations I was in on a fairly regular basis I have to admit I would not be the person and leader that I am today without those experiences.  At times I think Craig saw something in me that no one else saw.  I know I wasn’t convinced in what he was telling me was possible.  When I went to work in his area I knew I wanted to do something different and something more than what I’d been doing the previous 9 years.  I honestly didn’t have a clear vision of where I wanted to go, it was more a case of knowing where I didn’t want to be.  I learned more from working in his area in 4 years than I think I did before or since.

It was with huge mixed emotions that I left that organization to move to another part of the country.  However, the confidence and growth I experience in those last 4 years gave me the courage to change careers and pursue new passions.  What I learned about myself and leading others during that time created the momentum I needed to take a chance and go down a different path.  It’s been a wonderful journey that is still unfolding.

I am so fortunate to have had Craig as a boss at a time when I needed someone to believe in me and then push me towards my potential.  Even when I was kicking and screaming.  He showed me my potential and urged me to reach for it.  He also showed me the power and impact that leaders can have when they take the time to unlock the potential in others.

As leaders when make an impact each and everyday on those around us.  It’s our choice whether it’s a positive one or not.  Helping your followers unlock their potential is the greatest gift you can give them and give to your organization.  Take the time to help someone grow and learn.  You will be amazed at what can happen when you release their potential.  It might just start a chain reaction of growth in your organization.


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Leadership Quote for My 23rd

I think leadership is service and there is power in that giving: to help people, to inspire and motivate them to reach their fullest potential.
Denise Morrison

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Quote for Feb 14th

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.



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Leadership Parable – Nurture Your Team

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABelow is a leadership parable that speaks to the strength of recognizing and valuing the different skills of your team.  Hope you enjoy it.

The Wheel and the Light

Back in the third century B.C., the outbreak of fighting following the collapse of the Qin Dynasty had just ended.  In its place now stood the Han Dynasty, whose emperor, Liu Bang, had consolidated China into a unified empire for the first time.  To commemorate the event, Liu Bang had invited high-ranking military and political officials, poets, and teachers to a grand celebration.   Among them was Chen Cen, the master to whom Liu Bang had often gone for enlightenment during his campaign to unify China.

The celebration was in full swing.  A banquet grander than any ever seen was being held.  At the center table sat Liu Bang with his three heads of staff: Xiao He, who administered the logistics of unification; Han Xin, who organized and led the fighting activity; and Chang Yang, who formulated the diplomatic and political strategies.  At another table sat Chen Cen and his three disciples.

While food was served, speeches given, honors presented and entertainment performed, all looked on with pride and exhilaration – all except Chen Cen’s three disciples, who sat awestruck.  Only midway through the festivities did they utter their first words.  “Master,” they remarked, “all is grand, all is befitting, but at the heart of the celebration lies one enigma.”  Sensing his disciples’ hesitation, the master gently encouraged them to continue.

“At the central table sits Xia He,” they proceeded.  “Xiao He’s knowledge of logistics cannot be refuted.  Under his administration, the soldiers have always been well fed and properly armed, whatever the terrain.  Next to him is Han Xin.  Han Xin’s military tactics are beyond reproach.  He understands exactly where to ambush the enemy, when to advance, and when to retreat.  He has won every battle he has led.  Last is Chang Yang.  Chang Yang sees the dynamics of political and diplomatic relations in his palm.  He know which states to form alliances with, how to gain political favors, and how to corner heads of states into surrendering without battle.  This we understand well.  What we cannot comprehend is the centerpiece of the table, the emperor himself.  Liu Bang cannot claim noble birth and his knowledge of logistics, fighting and diplomacy does not equal that of his heads of staff.  How is it, then, that he is emperor?”

The master smiled and asked his disciples to imagine the wheel of a chariot.  “What determines the strength of a wheel in carrying a chariot forward?” he asked.  After a moment of reflection, his disciples responded, “Is it not the sturdiness of the spokes, Master?“  “But then, why is it,” he rejoined, “that two wheels made of identical spokes differ in strength?”  After a moment, the master continued, “See beyond what is seen.  Never forget that a wheel is made not only of spokes but also of the space between the spokes.  Sturdy spokes poorly placed make a week wheel.  Whether their full potential is realized depends on the harmony between them.  The essence of wheel making lies in the craftsman’s ability to conceive and create the space that holds and balances the spokes within the wheel.  Think now, who is the craftsman here?”

A glimmer of moon light was visible behind the door.  Silence reigned until one disciple said, “But master, how does a craftsman secure the harmony between the spokes?”  “Think of sunlight,” replied the master.  “The sun nurtures and vitalizes the trees and flowers.  It does so by giving away its light.  But in the end, in which direction do they all grow?  So it is with a master craftsman like Liu Bang.  After placing individuals in positions that fully realize their potential, he secures harmony among them by giving them all the credit for their distinctive achievements.  And in the end, as the trees and flowers grow toward the giver, the sun, individuals grow toward Liu Bang with devotion.”

Take the time to nurture your team members.  As they grow into their potential they will remember and respect the leader who helped them grow.

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Quote for July 10th

“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.”
Bill Bradley


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