All employees have talents, some are more aligned to certain aspects of the company than others. It’s a challenge to not be disproportionate in attention and efforts when some employees are obviously high potentials while others are simply performing.

According to HBR research, companies tend to think of the top 3% to 5% of their talent in these terms:

“High potentials consistently and significantly outperform their peer groups in a variety of settings and circumstances. While achieving these superior levels of performance, they exhibit behaviors that reflect their companies’ culture and values in an exemplary manner. Moreover, they show a strong capacity to grow and succeed throughout their careers within an organization—more quickly and effectively than their peer groups do.”

High Potential Program Sally Foley-Lewis

It might be easy to spot the high potentials in your organisation but it’s important to be clear about what makes someone a high potential. If you are a high potential or think you could be, check out these and see if you truly fit. If you want to be identified as a high potential you would do well to focus on these too:

Goal oriented:

High potentials tend to be incredibly reliable because they are goal oriented and determined to meet the goal and meet it on time. They track progress so they can be flexible and agile where required. This means they are quick decision makers and usually make the right decisions in vuca environments.

Fail fast and quietly:

No one escapes failure, it happens to everyone. A high potential will fail fast, seek to understand what caused the failure, and take that learning forward. They won’t cause any fanfare, blame anyone or any thing, or become the victim: they identify, learn and move on. They usually move onto even bigger and better goals and results. They seek opportunities to be a game changer.

Idea generators:

High potentials will show initiative, contribute ideas and will implement ideas that will improve the company or grow the business.

Take opportunities to lead:

They often assume leadership roles when in a group setting or working on a group project. They are the ones to delegate and play the role of coordinator. While they can work effectively with minimal supervision and work on their own, they also aim to make the whole team shine.

They “proceed until apprehended”*:

The high potential will generally need less guidance, not no guidance, but generally less. This is because they are motivated, engaged, productive and determined. When some direction or guidance is needed, the high potential doesn’t mind receiving the support. Because the high potential takes opportunities, is goal oriented they are more likely to proceed until apprehended*.

They think and ask:

This is not to say others don’t think and ask, the high potential tends to ask the questions that drive performance, identify gaps, and stimulate business ideas and opportunities. They are observant so they will spot potential threats, problems and opportunities before others.

They want to climb the corporate ladder:

High potentials want to rise up the ranks; they have corporate and business ambition; they will want senior leaders to notice them, their skills and their achievements. (Note: never assume every employee wants to climb the corporate ladder, we all define success differently.)


Spotting a high potential is only the first step. They need to be nurtured and supported in readiness for the roles they will step up and into. Knowing who your high potentials are is one thing, they must be given the opportunity to develop their leadership skills even further so that your company’s future will thrive. Quality leadership development programs, such as the High Potentials Program, are the key to cultivating your high potentials into leadership roles.

Will you lose some high potentials in the leadership development phase? Yes, some will either self-select to opt out or will not adapt well through the development process. Investing time and money in the leadership development of high potentials and having some not make it will be far cheaper and more time saving than in the long run. Think of it as your insurance policy: you pay for it and hope to never use it: in this case you pay for it, when they opt out or cannot transition you won’t have to put them into higher paying, higher risk, high cost leadership roles. You will have the right leaders in the right roles, at the right times, for the right money, delivering to your company the right results!

* Proceed until apprehended is a phrase one of my mentors gave me. It doesn’t mean do the wrong thing until you’re caught. It means, if you know what’s expected of you, get on with it! It means, if you have a great idea and all contingencies and potential threats and problems have been accounted for, go for it, stop waiting for everyone’s permission. It means, if you have an idea that you think should be rolled out across the whole organisation – because, let’s face it, when we have an idea we often think it’s brilliant and everyone should act on it, we’re human after all – then pilot the idea in your area, start small, test it, prove it works: get on with it!


If you have identified the high potentials in your team yet not sure how to start nurturing their leadership journey, the High Potentials Program is a must. A two-day interactive program that covers the four key areas a high potential needs to master:

Sally Foley-Lewis High Potential Program
Stepping up and taking responsibility for a leadership role can be challenging and incredibly rewarding. Knowing how to engage the team to get the best results means knowing how to effectively interact with individuals and successfully build teams. The role a leader plays in impacting the team and the organisation’s culture will be instrumental in achieving results and boosting the bottom line.

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 7.53.15 am

This two-day masterclass will tap into your High Potential’s current and potential leadership, spark confidence, and provide the knowledge and skills to shine as a true leader.

The aim of the program:

1. Understand your ability and potential as a leader and manager.
2. Know and build your skills to drive your own performance as well as your team’s and the company’s.
3. Learn how to truly engage with your team for increased productivity.
4. Be able to communicate, motivate and understand your employees for better workplace relationships and harmonious organisational culture.
5. Master leadership and influencing skills to achieve results and exceed all stakeholders’ expectations.

Who Would Benefit Most By Attending

This is an essential program for high-potentials wanting to step up into leadership roles. Frontline leaders, supervisors and middle managers will gain rich insights into their leadership role. They will learn how to improve their competencies, effectively drive performance with their team and each direct report, and achieve enhanced results.

The High Potentials Program:

Fun and Friendly: A lively, energetic pace with a highly experienced and qualified facilitator who can connect with all types of people and ensure a conducive learning environment for all. The program is interactive and fun, as well as practical and relevant.

Split into four core focus areas every manager and leader needs to master: you, the work, each employee and the team.

• Increasing self-awareness for better communication and conflict handling skills
• Developing the core competencies necessary to improve your capabilities as a leader within any organisation
• Having influence, irrespective of your position in the company, to drive performance, create opportunities and increase the bottom line

• Having a vision and setting goals to provide direction for what you want to achieve
• Getting the work done by planning, prioritising and reviewing
• Taking responsibility for achievement by making the best decisions

• Developing each individual by making use of situational leadership
• Inspiring each individual by motivating them to want to achieve results
• Keeping performance on track by providing feedback and conducting effective appraisals

• Developing team spirit and a commitment across the team to support each other and drive the business
• Understanding team stages and the impact they have on culture and results
• Providing clear team roles and ensuring a cohesive, high performing team


Every High Potential receives a set of Management Success Cards Valued at $A95

MSC spread

65 dynamic management skills self-coaching cards designed to drill down into all aspects of management to ensure clear, confident and driven performance. The cards, categorised into 12 management skills, will inspire and drive managers to think and act like successful managers.

Everyone will receive a set of Management Success Cards and will be encouraged to use these throughout the workshop. Sally also encourages participants to use and display the cards beside their workstation so they are constantly empowered to be effective team leaders.



To book your frontline leaders, middle managers and identified high potentials into a customised High Potentials Program call on+61 (0) 401 442 464 or email


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Wow, is short of explaining how awesome I find Sally and regard her expertise. Her knowledge, understanding and expertise in training people to be better managers is simply amazing. Having managed people for the many years I found her advice real, easy to implement and has had a massive impact on how I will manage people in the future. Thank you Sally.

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It was a pleasure to work with Sally Foley-Lewis on a project where Sally organised over 120 attendees for a training seminar with four speakers. Sally’s approach was professional, supportive, friendly and informative before, during and after the event. Sally ran the seminar and her approach as a MC was of the highest of standards.

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Sally was the MC and presented at a skills forum where I was also presenting. Sally’s engagement with the participants was a delight to watch and equally to experience. The content of her session was high quality and demanded attention. Her humour and warmth made her presentation very memorable.

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