Stunted Growth

From the Ask Tom mailbag –

Question:
In your Time Span workshop, you say that people max out during their lifetimes, related to capability. Can a person’s situation stunt growth so the individual can never grow to their maximum potential?

Response:
Happens all the time. Sometimes, those factors are internal, some external. Elliott Jaques, Requisite Organization, now available from Amazon, identified these factors as critical to success. Any of these could be a deal-breaker, preventing success. Any of these factors can have an impact on a person’s applied capability related to maximum potential.

  1. Skill – without a specific skill, I may not be able to reach my potential. If you are my manager and you recognize this, you would likely send me to training.
  2. Interest, or passion for the work – I will be interested in or passionate about work on which I place a high value. If I place a high value of a type of work, it is likely I will be interested or passionate about it. If I do not place a high value on a type of work, it is likely I will NOT be interested or passionate about it. If you are my manager, we will talk about values and you will most likely place me in a role with work on which I place a high value.
  3. Reasonable behavior – comes in two flavors, one is positive, one is dark. The positive side of reasonable behavior is my habits. There are habits I have, that contribute to my success, there are habits I have that inhibit my success. My habits will contribute or inhibit the application of my ability. If you are my manager, we will talk about my habits.

    The dark side of reasonable behavior, Elliott described as Minus-T. The “T” stands for Temperament. Most psychometric assessments attempt to tie specific behaviors to temperament. These instruments will typically divide behaviors (temperament) into four quadrants and assign a letter or color to designate that temperament. While Elliott observed no positive correlation any “normal” temperament, he did observe that an extreme negative temperament could be a deal killer for success. Extreme negative temperament might relate to elements like defensiveness or arrogance.

Any of these factors can get in the way. Some may have internal causes, others external. AND I expect the manager to pay enough attention to tell the difference.

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