Warning! There may be untapped potential all around you!

Coming through this dark, long tunnel of cloth might look easy, but it was quite an accomplishment for Grace. I wasn

What is the potential for any dog?

I doubt this question gets asked much by dog owners. Many of us bring a canine pal into our homes for companionship (nothing wrong with that!). But we probably don’t put a dedicated focus on helping them reach their own potential. We’re often more interested in having them fit into our lives and lifestyle. There obviously has to be some of that for a peaceful and satisfactory co-existence, but I’m talking about real efforts to bring out the best in the dog.

And the same thing happens in our workplaces. We bring on a new employee because a job needs to get done (nothing wrong with that!). But then we often leave that person on their own to figure out the ropes. We get busy or just don’t have the interest to mentor and support what they need to thrive. It seems that if they are surviving, that’s good enough. But think about the difference in the outcomes for someone who is just surviving, versus someone who is thriving.

It takes a lot of patience, time, and effort to help someone develop. Sometimes when they are further from the place we think they should be, we limit what we feel their potential is. I had no idea how difficult it would be to get Grace comfortable with going through an open barrel.

That’s why when I heard that a local car dealership has created a new position called Director of Corporate Potential, I was so impressed. Amanda Grappone Osmer, a member of the fourth-generation leadership team at Grappone Automotive Group in Concord, NH, understands the importance of reaching our potential. And not just individual potential, but discovering what the employees want the collective potential to become. The impact of that could be profound.

After walking through the open barrel, she needed to get used to the feeling of the nylon material. It was such a process — taking one step at a time. The key to her success was allowing her to succeed at each step along the way.

Amanda announced this new position at an event I attended Wednesday night, sponsored by the statewide organization, New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility. It’s a group I’m proud to belong to because the members understand and are dedicated to doing business in ways to improve the triple bottom line, consisting of people, planet, and profits.

Amanda talked about their existing company culture and shared ways in which they currently help employees do their best work. (One example was a dedicated room for meditation which allows the employees to decompress from the pressures of retail sales.) With this new position, they are deepening that commitment so that managers and employees have a shared direction for doing great work. Now the employees will be engaged in answering the question: “What is our collective potential?” I can already start to imagine the ideas, enthusiasm, and energy when everyone has an opportunity to contribute and when that voice is being heard.

Moe, a talented employee in the collision center at Grappone, is the perfect example of reaching beyond the “normal” activities for a guy who works in a body shop. He’s been studying and experimenting with ways to eliminate waste in the painting process. Through a lot of his hard work, time, and talents, he designed a new system and was significant enough that it is now patented. Moe deserved a lot of credit for developing this process that will help efficiencies, quality, and reduced waste on our environment. But we should recognize that the leadership at Grappone provided him the necessary resources to allow his potential to be realized.

The Director of Corporate Potential won’t be behind closed doors in executive conference rooms developing these initiatives with a few top leaders. He will be working with mid-level managers and employees who do the work to understand what they need to do their best. I imagine they will be asking questions of each other like, “What are we capable of? What do we want to accomplish? What is holding us back?”

Ahhh, it makes me happy to hear such talk in an organization. It also makes me think I need to get Grace back into agility.

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