What a Waste

by Emily Jasper on March 31, 2010

There’s something that I see happen all the time: the waste of potential. You’d think with the recession that companies would have figured out the extra skill sets people have.


It doesn’t even have to be employers. There are tons of people who could do amazing things…and they don’t. There are two major ways potential seems to get lost on the world, and I have issue with both.

Roadblocks Because of Organizational Blindness

This often happens when there’s something keeping an organization from seeing great things from employees. It can be as simple as education discrimination. There are many companies that now expect people to have Bachelor’s Degrees. While that’s nothing to dismiss, there are many people who could program, layout PowerPoint, or sell better than those who have the degree.

Instead of leveraging these talents, organizations dismiss them. Surely these tasks aren’t important enough. On the other hand, more and more leaders are expected to handle their own administrative tasks. Imagine what it’s like at the end of the month when billable leaders can’t do their time sheets and bill for work. Who doesn’t get paid then?

I can tell you the person with the mad skills probably wants to throttle the leader who thinks they’re above it.

If organizations what to see better into the talent of the organization, check out the people from the middle, down to the bottom. Trust me, if you’re amazing at your job and bring a ton to the table, you would float to the top of your group. The organization needs to catch people at the top of these groups and figure out plans for promotion and retention. The people with potential should do a lot to continue to learn new skills, especially if they can take advantage of company training or education programs.

Lack of Motivation Because People are Lazy

I should probably throw in “discouraged” in there, too, so you can assume they might go together. Whatever it is, there’s a lack of personal motivation to use the talents at someone’s fingertips. We see this often in people who feel victimized. Yes, there will be scenarios where you are a victim of a certain situation, but there is a time when you pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

Stepping stones are not end zones, though.

If you’re not living in an oppressed situation, there are plenty of tools out there to provide aid. We may not remember to use it anymore, but the library is a great place to start. Not only are there tons of books at your disposal, but there’s the internet, practically the life blood for many of us. From there, you can begin any kind of research or learning endeavor to help you out. Initiative and pride can then be added to the new you.

What other ways can potential be wasted? Who’s responsible? What are ways to pull people out?

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