Building an organization full of leaders

To make this idea a reality, we have integrated 5 essential principles from the latest thinking in positive psychology, behavioural science and neuroscience.

Personal & team flourishing are the new leadership:

In today’s fast-moving world, those individuals who are flourishing as the best versions of themselves, and are helping others to become the best versions of themselves, are the stand-out leaders of today’s world. And that causes us to redefine ‘leadership’ as behaviors that deliver happier, higher performing teams at all levels.

Micro actions inspires reflection (as well as vice versa).

Reflection and action must go hand in hand. And the more micro and targeted the action, the better. You can’t ‘think’ your way to leadership, you have to actually practice new behaviours, one by one.

Lasting change takes time – but it’s possible:

The neural pathways of our brains change all the time when we repeat behaviours over a long period of time and make habits of them. Neuroscience proves that credence to the adage ‘First you make your habits, and then your habits make you’.

Behavioural change involves a three-stage process.

The change process is split across three cycles, which involve experimentation, deliberate practice and ritualization. Each cycle is pivotal and builds on the last. There is no such thing as the microwave dinner approach to leadership development.

The experience must be personal – AND supported, social & strategic.

Every colleague’s development needs are unique – so we use technology to allow participants to precision target personalized changes. And we design a program experience that offers the support of professionals, social engagement with peers and clarity on the link between their development and their business objectives. There is no either/or between individual and the wider context – sustained change requires both.

What do the highest performers do – and how do they lead?

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?” Five leadership categories emerged, which form the acronym SHARP.


Leading self

Manage health and energy to embrace stress

Leading others

Create positive environments that maximize energy & resilience


Leading self

Manage health and energy to embrace stress

Leading others

Create positive environments that maximize energy & resilience


Leading self

Know and use your strengths and passions to reach your peak performance

Leading others

Build teams based on complementary strengths


Leading self

Be more mindfully engaged in everything you are doing

Leading others

Be fully present for others through active listening


Leading self

Identify your purpose and live daily

Leading others

Inspire superior performance through common purpose


Leading self

Cultivate positive and authentic relationships

Leading others

Foster psychological safety for creativity and innovation

Micro behavioural change every week

The core atoms of the program are weekly behavioural change modules which require reflection and action – all of which is tailored based on company context and personalized diagnostic data. Every week, participants spend 30-45 minutes on their mobile to:

Watch short videos with key messages relating to the behaviours of the most successful people, tailored for their company context

Participants then make these changes as they go about their week – nudged along by the Potentialife app and social touch points embedded in the program

Analyse personal diagnostic data, to stimulate a thought process focused on what they do well – and how they can do more of it

Commit to a specific behavioural change or changes to be made in the week ahead

Participants then make these changes as they go about their week – nudged along by the Potentialife app and social touch points embedded in the program

Repeated for the best part of a year

Neuroscience shows us that combing reflection & action over time leads to new neural pathways being created – the program is thus played out over 30 Modules – each involving micro changes - over the course of approximately 1 year

Split across 3 Cycles of Change

Given the distinct steps in the behavioural change process the modules are grouped into three 10 Module cycles, each of which corresponding to a distinct step in the change process:

Unfreeze cycle

The 10 modules of the Unfreeze cycle allow the participant the discover new concepts and experiment making small changes across the full spectrum of SHARP

Change cycle

The 10 modules of the Change cycle allow the participant to build on the Unfreeze experience by making defining choices about their own profile and by extending their leadership profile by practicing leading others across the spectrum of SHARP

Refreeze cycle

The 10 modules of the Refreeze cycle allow the participant to overcome obstacles and to engage in ritualization techniques to maximize the changes of embedding lasting change

Cycle Kick Off Session

Each cycle starts with a live, interactive group session co-led by Potentialife faculty and senior client leadership to set out the purpose and practicalities of the Cycle ahead. Through a combination of powerful data analysis and compelling stories we cover the performance benefits of making the small behavioural changes ahead – at both an individual and business level.

Cycle LifeMap Diagnostic

Immediately following the Kick Off Session, every participant spends 7 days with our LifeMap diagnostic app. During this time, a participant takes ~10 minutes a day to reflect on how they are feeling and performing as they go about their weekly tasks. As well as increasing mindfulness, this creates a confidential big-data ‘map’ for every individual on how they perform on the behaviors that make the biggest difference to happiness and high performance. This data is then drip fed back to participants in the Modules in order to help them personalize the changes that work for them.

End of Cycle Playbook

Upon completion of their 10 Modules, participants are provided with a personalized end of cycle playbook, summarizing their key stats and behavioural progress from the Cycle. This then acts as a playbook for reference as they progress onto the following Cycle – which will start again with a Kick Off session.

10 Mobile Modules

Once the 7 days with LifeMap is complete, participants will then spend the next 3 months completing 10 personalized modules on their mobile or tablet. Taking 30-40 mins a week, these will address each area of SHARP from an organizational and individualized perspective – using video, personal diagnostic data and short commitment nudges to support each individual to make a series of small, real-life behavioral changes every week.

To create a holistic set of experiences that leads to long-term change

An individualized experience

Ultimately, every person is unique and so while we know about the common behaviours that drive high performance in all of us (i.e. We should all play to our strengths), we also know that those behaviours will look different for each of us (i.e. my strengths are your weaknesses). As a result, Potentialife leverages cutting-edge technology and multiple evidence-based diagnostic tools to allow each participant to think each week during their Module about the most personally relevant possibilities for growth.

A supported experience.

While all development requires an element of self-leadership, participants are never alone. We design our programs to ensure that participant feel actively supported by a team of Potentialife program managers, internal HR and business role models. Whether it’s a technical question, friendly check-in, or an inspiring personal story from the business, participants feel part of a support structure there to help them reach their full potential.

A social experience.

Perhaps, even more important than this formal program support however is the pull of social interactions that emerge around the program. From Day 1, participants are grouped into small buddy groups (or in-tact teams) as well as wider cohorts (or in-tact units) with whom which they will share the development experience. These living groups encompass an array of formal and informal social touch points, from private Whatsapp groups to coffee mornings and much more, allowing for battle stories, mutual reinforcement and role-modelling.

A strategic experience.

Ultimately, Potentialife is about developing people into their best selves in order to better deliver the organization’s strategic objectives. We will ensure that participants feel invested-in personally – and also realize that these new behaviors are improving their on-the-job performance. To do this, we work with clients to brand and tailor the positioning of the entire 9 month program, so at every turn participants will see the link between that week’s action and what’s expected of them in their day job.