How can I unlock my full potential?

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How can I unlock my full potential?

Be your own concierge – the secret keys to success

Concierge is a word of French origin meaning keeper of the keys. In his book, First Break All The Rules, strengths psychologist Don Clifton argues that to get the best out of people there are 4 “keys” that if used properly will unlock potential and drive performance.

So, what are these keys and how can we use them to unlock our potential and those of the people in our teams


Select for talent

The word talent in this context means recurring patterns of thought, feeling and behaviour that can be productively applied. Clifton argues that rather than relying on a person’s experience, intelligence and/or determination it is the more innate abilities that we have that really matter. These innate abilities are like super highways in the brain that are formed and honed in the early years of our life. They help us stand out later in life if we can harness the “talent” they give us.

Examples could be the ability to be focused or to make connections with strangers or to find links between seemingly unconnected themes or ideas. What are your innate abilities and do you get the opportunity in your job to use these every day?


Define the right outcomes

People and businesses need to perform at a certain level and therefore need to set expectations to drive performance. This is about defining for team members what the right outcomes are and letting each member of your team find their own route to those required outcomes.

Over the years I have met many managers and leaders who struggle to relinquish control, wasting huge amounts of physical and mental energy in the process. What if you allowed your people to be the individuals they are, set them up for the journey with a clear destination and trusted them to deliver? I have never met anyone yet who likes being micro-managed!


Focus on strengths

As human beings we love to stereotype people. You know the kind of thing, “all sales people are egotists”, “accountants are boring” or “all solicitors are control freaks” etc. The reality is that these sweeping statements are unhelpful and misguided. People are individuals and therefore we need to park our pre-conceptions, be curious and find out what makes them tick.

Ask yourself what motivates you? Does it involve working on something you are poor at or on something that energises you? This is where our strengths become vital assets in the quest to perform to our best. Identify what it is you are good at and maximise the benefits by getting the most out of your strengths. Yes we should identify areas for development where it is important but playing to your strengths can help you perform at a much higher level than you thought possible.


Find the right fit

In many businesses for many years the same dilemma has existed for people who want to progress their careers – how to get promoted so that I can feel I am “climbing the ladder” and can earn more money. For a great number of people this often ends in unhappiness, disappointment and stress as they discover the next role isn’t for them or they struggle to meet the demands of the role.

What if we changed the way we thought about progression? What if for you it was finding a role that uses your super highways and requires your strengths? A role that enables you to excel, feel happy and fulfilled. For businesses this means looking at and changing career paths and reward mechanisms.


Turning the keys

In his book, Don Clifton suggests we can all adopt a 6-point approach to finding, building on and maximising our strengths;

  • Look in the mirror – seek feedback to understand yourself better and how you are perceived by others.
  • Muse – Find time to reflect and work out what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve learnt, what’s energised you and what hasn’t.
  • Discover yourself – use 1 & 2 above to help you opt for the right roles, be a better friend or partner and to guide your development choices.
  • Build your constituency – work out the types of relationships that work well for you and seek them out
  • Keep track – Record the things you learn and discover in a manner that suits you
  • Catch your peers doing something right – Provide positively framed, actionable feedback and help make things better for others


At Zentano we firmly believe that each person is a product of both nurture and nature. Everyone can grow and develop by building new neural pathways in our brains. How you decide to grow and what you focus on is important in unlocking your potential.

For more information on how to unlock your potential please get in touch, we would love to help you find the right keys.