The first indicator of potential we look for is the right kind of motivation: a fierce commitment to excel in the pursuit of unselfish goals. High potentials have great ambition and want to leave their mark, but they also aspire to big, collective goals, show deep personal humility, and invest in getting better at everything they do. We consider motivation first because it is a stable—and usually unconscious—quality. If someone is driven purely by selfish motives, that probably won’t change.
We then consider four other qualities that are hallmarks of potential, according to our research:
Curiousity: a penchant for seeking out new experiences, knowledge, and candid feedback and an openness to learning and change
Insight: the ability to gather and make sense of information that suggests new possibilities
Engagement: a knack for using emotion and logic to communicate a persuasive vision and connect with people
Determination: the wherewithal to fight for difficult goals despite challenges and to bounce back from adversity