Anatomy of a High-Potential



How can you become a real game changer individual?

Great question.

Dr. Jay Conger has a must see presentation on The Anatomy of a High-Potential:

The Anatomy of a High-Potential

I’m always on the hunt for insights and actions that help people get the edge in work and life.  

This is one of those gems. 

What I like about Dr. Jay Conger’s work is that he has a mental model that’s easy to follow, as well as very specific practices of high-performance that separate high-potentials from the rest of the pack.

In a fast-paced world of extreme innovation, change, and transformation, it pays to be high-potential.

Anything you can do to learn how to perform like a high-potential, can help you leap frog or fast track your career path.

Here are some of my favorite highlights from Dr. Conger’s presentation …

High-Potential Defined

High-potentials consistently out-perform their peer groups.  Dr. Jay Conger writes:

“High potentials consistently outperform their peer groups in a variety of settings and circumstances.  While achieving superior levels of performance, they exhibit behaviors reflecting their company’s culture and values in an exemplary manner.  They show strong capacity to grow and success throughout their careers — more quickly and effectively than their peer groups do.”

Baseline Requirements

According to Dr. Jay Conger, high-potentials distinguish themselves in the following ways:

  1. Deliver strong results credibly and not at other’s expense
  2. Master new types of expertise
  3. Behave in ways consistent with the company’s values and culture

Moving Up the Stack – From Value Creator to Game Changer

High-potentials are game changers.   Here is a snapshot of Dr. Jay Conger’s pyramid that illustrates how high-potentials move up the stack:

Stage How You Perform How You Behave
Stage 1 Acquires and uses expertise to accomplish tasks with excellence Views as being a good fit with company’s culture and values
Stage 2 Manages teams and relationships to get more complex challenges done Lives the values and serves as a positive example to others
Stage 3 Influences broad-based, complex networks to deliver high impact results and bring about large scale change Serves as important role model and steward of the company’s culture and values
Stage 4 Significant contributor in building game-changing organizational and talent capabilities Actively teaches the organization’s culture and values and challenges employees to become change a change agent

What I like the most about the model is that it resonates with what I’ve experienced, and that it frames out a pragmatic development path for amplifying your impact as a proven game changer.


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