What is “Potential,” really?


I get this question often because the title of my book is Market Your Potential, Not Your Past.

“Potential” is both science and art. The science is economic. Scientifically, “potential” is the intersection of supply and demand where jobs are created for a specific set of talents for a specific type of pay.

For instance, the emergence of the “project manager” role since the mid-1980s has to do with the need for an individual to manage a major project from beginning to end. It was created to handle software development and the many pieces of code that are needed to complete a package. As software and applications became more a part of the work environment, then the need for project managers rose. One day, when we move from applications to something else, project managers may no longer be needed because all of us could incorporate packaged applications by ourselves.

So “potential” is an element of supply and demand (and here’s the important part) – it is created and defined by the market!

But potential is also an art. It is the perception that attends to a particular product.

Why, for instance, would people pay thousands of dollars for a Dacor gas range, priced at about $4,000, when for the same utility (cooking with gas) one could produce the same result using a Sears Kenmore for about $900? It is the perception that a Dacor is more professional and provides a better outcome. But in reality, cooking with gas is cooking with gas. The way in which it is delivered is the same. The utility of cooking with gas has nothing to do with how it is designed. But the Dacor’s “potential” is the perception that having this item will result in a better meal, regardless of whether the cook or the recipe is any good!

Therefore, as an executive there are two areas of potential that need to be addressed – the economic and the perception – when you are marketing and branding yourself. The economic has to do with the ever-changing market demand that we are experiencing, and will be experiencing, as we move away from the Industrial Economy to the Social Economy.

Professions that were in demand only a decade ago are slowly becoming downsized in scale and scope to younger, more junior skill sets because technology is affording companies to do so. Skills are being automated, jobs are fracturing into more affordable packets and outsourced, and all of it is to improve productivity and enhance company exposure to high overhead costs.

As well, perceptions of top talent are changing. Those executives who have the “look and feel” of a different time (i.e. are “too old”) give the impression that they are out of touch and unable to handle the realities of today. Conversely, executives who are updated in their presentation – both online and in their marketing collateral – show that they are current and capable to help companies move forward in our Social Economy.

Marketing yourself starts first with understanding these elements of Potential and from there designing a marketing strategies and selling tactics that will draw the best opportunities to you.

And using the techniques that haven’t been upgraded, and frankly are what most career companies and coaches use today, will result in doing nothing to address the underlying shifts in today’s market.

© Alliance Resources LLC, dba MarketOne Executive. All Rights Reserved, worldwide.

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