Peter and Nitin have been working closely together since 2014, developing and delivering corporate talent management programs, and they've uncovered some fascinating secrets about what really constitutes 'high potential'.
"We started thinking that so many people in business and the academic world have written about the qualities that get you promoted. There are psychometric tests, assessment centres, leadership programs, all kinds of things that you have to do to be 'leadership material'. But at the same time, we know that leadership is very personal and subjective, so it doesn't make any sense to have one set of criteria for identifying a 'high potential' leadership candidate." says Nitin.
Peter adds, "We know that leadership is actually not a behaviour at all, it's not some set of activities or qualities that the leader possesses, it's in fact a description of a relationship between people. So the relationship that the leader creates with the team is where the magic happens, and therefore that relationship depends as much on the team as it does the leader. The second traditional idea that didn't make sense is the idea that you can measure a person's potential, that you can predict what a person will be able to do in the future. So it seems much more credible and concrete to put a person into a new scenario and then to measure what they actually do. So what we're really measuring isn't potential but performance, but we're doing it before anyone is committed to the hiring decision."
The book will take the research that Nitin and Peter have conducted and turn it into a series of practical steps that anyone can take to dramatically improve their career prospects. Both authors agree that what really matters isn't having the knowledge to achieve more, it's the application of that knowledge, and so many management and leadership books are simply gathering dust on the office bookshelves of the world.
"This is a book that will make a real impact on your career, and we're working hard to make this both evidence-based and practical", says Nitin. "Peter has already made a huge contribution to the talent programs running in my business, and I know that together, we're creating something that really does have something new to say in this crowded career development market."
'How to Become a High Potential' is the working title of the book, which is due for release early in 2018.