From The Big Idea: 21st-Century Talent Spotting by Claudio Fernandez-Araoz:
Having spent 30 years evaluating and tracking executives and studying the factors in their performance, I now consider potential to be the most important predictor of success at all levels, from junior management to the C-suite and the board. I’ve learned how to identify people who have it and to help companies develop and deploy them.
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. 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:
— Curiosity: 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