Human Potential is Exponential

Managing the productivity of people is increasingly important as our economy adjusts to increasing an increasing share of knowledge work. For many organisations labour is already the most significant cost of production.

Many organisations adopt a traditional efficiency management mindset when it comes to managing people. The view that their people have a fixed potential contribution means that the organisation will miss the opportunity that flows from increasing human potential.

Leverage the Growing Potential of People

People are the most unique input to your production process. Their contributions offer the potential for exponential increases in value. The potential of people is not fixed. You will struggle to make steel exponentially more useful in your process but you can quickly help your people to create exponential increases in value in their work.

We know people’s skill can increase over time as the learn and gain experience in their roles.  Most organisations work to foster the learning of its people to better leverage their growing productivity from new skills. Growth in skills delivers significant improvements in the potential of your people.

As benefit of the leadership conversations to develop people you also discover that your people have capabilities to contribute to your organisation in ways far beyond their current role & performance. Leveraging this potential through new assignments, new challenges and new roles is essential to development of talent and better performance.

Networks Accelerate Potential

However, people have one other critical capability over most factors of production. People can also network to accelerate their learning and productivity. Metcalfe’s law tells us that in a network the value increases exponentially with the number of people connected. People working, learning and sharing in a network experience this exponential impact on their potential.

How can networking with others, through working out loud deliver exponential increases in value to people working in your organisation?

Networks enables your people to realise greater potential through:

  • greater access to knowledge, a faster pace of knowledge flow and most importantly accelerated opportunities for people to share and to learn from each other
  • access to consult perspectives, skills and experience that they have not yet acquired through conversations with peers and others.
  • the ability to accelerate the growth of their own personal connections by leveraging networks to find additional friends, colleagues, stakeholders, experts or others who can help add value to their work
  • building purpose, trust & engagement within and outside your organisation. Lack of trust is a major barrier to productivity in organisations. A sense of purpose and engagement have major influences on people’s contributions at work, particularly discretionary efforts.

Most importantly of all, people aren’t just an input to your work. People organised and empowered by networks can work together on improving your system & processes of work. All of a sudden you have the potential for major leaps in the value of your work as collaboration drives innovation


If you are wondering how to get started to leverage the exponential potential of your people in networks, then Harold Jarche just described the way to get going with working out loud, personal knowledge management, distributing authority and building a common vision.

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