The Science Behind The Program

Why does Leadership matter?

Leadership just got a whole lot more important for your organization. Phenomena such as the increasing pace of technological and organizational change and workplace disaggregation mean that more than ever before there is space for expression within organizations. This space is oxygen that allows more creativity, initiative, engagement…in short, more space for leadership.

And this doesn’t just apply at the top of the organization – it applies at every single level. In fact, those organizations that are able to develop leadership behaviors ‘at scale’ have a distinct competitive advantage. By positively setting your people alight with higher levels of energy, engagement, creativity, productivity and purpose you can not only enable your business strategy but shape it.


Steve Jobs, ex CEO of Apple

“Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem.”
In these rapidly-moving environments, it is individual leadership that increasingly drives organizational performance. Leadership drives strategy.

And yet, most CEOs will agree the leadership development programs that are available today do not meet their needs. How can you seriously hope to scale coaching beyond top management, for example?

The results of those failures are worrying: 91% of managers state that their roles do not allow them to be at their best – and 80% of all employees say their job does not fully engage them. This is not the case for everyone – study after study has shown that those organizations that develop leadership behaviors across all levels outperform their peers across nearly every financial metric.

So if leadership matters – what are the leadership behaviors that really make a difference to performance?


At Potentialife we researched the latest scientific observations and thinking in leadership behaviors. Our question wasn’t “what is a leader?” but rather “what exactly does a leader do?”. We wanted to better understand the measurable behaviors that are common to great leaders. Five leadership categories emerged, which make up the components of SHARP: Strengths, Health, Absorption, Relationships, and Purpose. These are not the only ones that matter, but they are the most important ones.

For example:


  • great leaders spend a disproportionate amount of time playing to their strengths (doing what they’re good at) and living their passions (doing what they like doing). They tend not to believe that the best way to progress is by eliminating your weaknesses.
  • great leaders are always energetic people – not because that’s ‘just the way they are’ but because they do certain things that allow them to live energetically. This allows them to embrace stress as a positive thing – with recovery – rather than trying to avoid or eliminate stress as a bad thing.
  • great leaders spend more of their time mindfully engaged in whatever they are doing, using techniques to reduce the amount of time spent in a state of mindlessness. As a consequence they believe it is possible to create the conditions for their own peak performance, and don’t assume that peak performance is rare and exogenous.
  • great leaders spend more of their time in authentic and positive interactions. They understand that being ‘true to yourself’ and positive – as well as empowering others to be the same – are the differentiators for our modern networked world more than power and control.
  • great leaders understand that it’s fulfilment that leads to success not success that brings fulfillment. As a result they set goals that make it possible to live life fully in the present, and are able to frame their day-to-day activities to fill them with meaning.

But let’s get real: how can you get people to adopt these behaviors on a lasting basis?

Let’s be honest with ourselves. You can’t think your way to leadership. You can’t even study your way to leadership. And yet, our world is full of easy remedies, catchy lists and promises of quick wins. But behavioral science tells us a different story: people change their behaviors over time if they go through a very specific process of change that involves encountering new things, experimenting, making defining choices, overcoming obstacles and finally establishing rituals. Potentialife embeds this science of behavioral change directly in our leadership development program thanks to our unique EXPLOR methodology.

For example:
  • great leaders know that it isn’t good enough simply to know what the right behaviors are. Experimentation and failure are required before you can hope to achieve success
  • great leaders know that there is no point in hoping for more self-discipline as a way to make change stick. They know that new year resolutions don’t work. When it comes to self-discipline, each of us has what he has. They answer to lasting change lies as much in ‘way-power’ as much as it does in ‘will-power’

Daniel Goleman, Author “Emotional Intelligence”

goleman“Most of the time change resulting from training doesn’t seem to be sustained, which is why it is often called the Honeymoon effect. Considering the more than $60 billion spent in North America alone on training, this is a sobering observation.”
lasting-change-imagePotentialife’s EXPLOR model of change means an end to the age of the Honeymoon effect. Potentialife rigorously tracks the behavioural changes being made by participants from the day the program launches and the results speak for themselves.

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