Weekend Reads: Big Potential

Updated: Nov 15, 2018


Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

During Monday Mentorship with Heather Adams, we heard a recommendation for a book that Heather defined as the most powerful book read in her professional career. That book is Big Potential by Shawn Achor, a researcher and author in the field of positive psychology. Many readers may know Achor from his viral TEDx Talk The Happy Secret to Better Work, which is hilarious and worth checking out if you haven't seen it.


In his latest book, Achor discusses the misguided perception that success is an individual pursuit. Drawing from examples in the natural world and the corporate one, he shares significant data (in an engaging way) that indicates we are better, both individually and collectively, when we work collaboratively. In short he shares, ". . . once we learn to coordinate and collaborate with those around us, we all begin to shine brighter, both individually and as an ecosystem."


It is this notion of the importance of collaboration and connection that Heather finds, as she said, "validating and challenging." With her team approach to account management at Choice Media, Heather finds success is a shared endeavor; helping colleagues is a win for all. Achor terms this as process "positive systems."

"Success is not just about how creative or smart or driven you are, but how well you are able to connect with, contribute to, and benefit from

the ecosystem of people around you."

Working across industries to conduct research on effective teams, Achor looks at hundreds of businesses including hyper competitive environments like Google and Harvard University, where he taught for a decade. Consistent findings demonstrate that the one shared trait for effective teams is that there is no individual shared trait.


The shocking finding in Achor's work across hundreds of businesses and organizations in fifty countries, and consistent with results from Google's famous Aristotle study, is that individual performance increases with effective grouping. I'll quote Achor at length here:


"Now we know that our health and happiness aren't

the only traits that are interconnected. Personality,

creativity, energy, engagement, leadership, and even

sales performance are all predicted by those you

surround yourself with. In other words, connecting

with high potential people dramatically increases

your likelihood of high-potential outcomes."

(Emphasis is Achor's)


Big Potential is an excellent read which provides insight into what some leaders intuitively know: individual success is a function of group success. Now, Achor has provided us with the research to support the claim. He does so in an engaging book that piques curiosity and satisfies in each chapter.



Disclaimer: While Leading Ladies is an Amazon Affiliate and earns minimal (cents) referral fees for linked purchases, Leading Ladies has no paid relationship with Shawn Achor.

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