During a recent conversation with a high-potential, I listed three organizational opportunities. I began with the one I most wanted done. After briefly explaining the opportunities, I asked if he connected with any. I was hoping he’d jump on the opportunity that most excited me.
Sadly, he didn’t connect with any. To make matters worse he didn’t even mention the opportunity I was most passionate about. It was all I could do not to try convincing him that the thing I wanted done was the thing he should want to get done. But I held my tongue.
Getting the most from high-potentials is not about what you want them to do. It’s about what they want to do. It’s the leader’s job to find the sweet spot that connects an individual’s passion with organizational objectives.
A few days later
A few days later, on a Friday, I had a project that needed a coordinator so I called this same high-potential. Before I finished explaining the project, he crisply listed three things that needed to get done in order to make it happen and said, “I’m in.” I’d found his sweet spot.
Successful leaders find the sweet spot by aligning the passion of high-potentials with organizational objectives.
On another occasion, with another leader, finding the sweet spot required several conversations. We explored opportunities. Identified activities they needed to give up. In addition, we tried and failed at a new initiative. Eventually we discovered a life changing, organizationally sustaining sweet spot.
Finding the sweet spot may take patience and persistence.
Finding the sweet spot is about helping others reach their own goals and achieve their own dreams.
In my opinion, the greatest obstruction to finding another’s sweet spot is imposing our own agenda on others.
Written by Dan Rockwell
Adapted from Leadership Freak, Finding the Sweet Spot