Intelligence and Potential: Cruel Facts of Biases


I am sure, everyone who reads this blog must have gone through the pain of feeling victimized with the blame that “you are not Intelligent and/or don’t have Potential”.

Possible Reasons:

– decision makers – do not have enough knowledge about what Intelligence and Potential  really mean and

– a superior assesses the areas of strengths and improvement through different and limited experience(s)

Based this observation, I thought of writing this blog.

Intelligence has been defined by many researchers in their own way, but no one has given any Mean definition.

Intelligence is not talent. Intelligence is not someone can learn. Fact is, everyone is born with intelligence naturally. Therefore, creating an impression that one is superior to another is not justified. Also, intelligence is primarily influenced by genetics and physiology of a person and nurturing, too plays an influencing role in one’s intelligence level.

One study suggests that intelligence is around 30-70% genetic. It doesn’t depend on the brain structure or size but the pattern of its utilization.

Actually, there are no types or divisions of intelligence!

Intelligence is the function of motivation. It is a basic attribute linked to survival. Intelligence does attributes to a person who is good at learning from experience and adapting to the environment. It stays stable across life and career spans of a person until the person has motivation to build the intelligence further. Scientific evidences suggest that it is possible to change intelligence level but is not easy. One has to have high level of motivation to influence and develop it. This is one of the big reasons that why people start assessing others based on their own intelligence!

Intelligence is very linked to Potential and  so, Performance too in an organization!

As correctly defined by Macrae & Furnham “Potential is a possible trajectory of what a person can do.” It is opposite to performance. Performance is what a person has done in the past, potential is what the person could relatively do in the future, but is not a guarantee for future performance. Reasons, circumstances can not remain same, and so same intelligence can not be applied in future to achieve same performance – situations and people in team change!

Potential doesn’t always reside within an individual but in circumstances and the ability of the person to use to his advantage. Therefore, practically, it is dependent on factors which are outside the control of the individual. Individual skills and attributes are only foundational in nature and do not determine potential. On the other hand, factors like opportunities, good fortune, mentors, development, and career events etc are helpful in knowing potential of a person.

Having biases towards what one know to assess someone is always faulty and detrimental in nature.

In the end, let’s say,

Top Performers do not need to be celebrated geniuses and genius alone is not sufficient for top performance.”

Moreover, “Intelligence is of limited use if one doesn’t have motivation.”


Rajesh Tripathi

HR Head & VP

Gujarat Heavy Chemical Ltd.

Becoming a Velocity Leader

Velocity leader

One of the important aspects of leadership is to provide direction to the team. A leader is the one who knows the way, goes the way and  shows the way!!

We all have studied the concepts of speed and velocity in school.

Speed describes how fast an object is moving; whereas

Velocity describes not only how fast the object is moving, but also in what direction.

Let’s say: If a car is said to travel at 50 km/h, its speed is specified. However, if the car is said to move at 50 km/h to the east, its velocity is specified. So, velocity is about speed + direction.

How is this linked to Leadership and Management? Is Leadership to do with direction whereas Management to do with speed? And is speed more important than direction while managing teams?

Most of the organizations/industries describe themselves as fast (speed) paced and not velocity paced! And so, many leaders take pride in describing themselves as Speedy-Action Leaders and not Velocity Leaders!! In order to be successful, an organization needs to focus both on direction as well as speed. Velocity Leadership is essentially about sharing the  bigger picture with the team-members.

If as a leader you want to be an effective Velocity Leader, then follow CARE:

  1. Confess: Reality is different from desire, everybody is not the same, their understanding of goals and speed of delivering the goal is different. Everybody may not be aligned to the common goal equally. The role of the leader is to accept/confess and know the reality of Goal Velocity of each of his/her team member.
  2. Assess: Once the leader confesses/understands/knows the Goal Velocity of each team member, he/she needs to assess the gap in terms of alignment (direction) as well as pace (speed) towards thedefined goals in order to enable them for success. Some team members may need alignment and others may just need a push in terms of speed.
  3. Refine: Once the Velocity Gaps are identified, Leader is expected to coach/mentor his/her team member, enable the systems/processes, provide support/guidance and review frequently to achieve effectiveness. Realign the direction and speed if required in order to achieve the defined Velocity Goals.
  4. Express: Post confessing, assessing, refining/reviewing the Velocity Goals, Leader needs to share feedback, acknowledge thebridged gaps, recognize and reward the team members by regularly expressing the team achievements.

By following CARE, a Velocity Leader will not only provide direction and speed to his/her team towards shared vision and goals but will also develop Velocity Culture by promoting this healthy       spirit of competition. He/she will also facilitate sharing and help clear hostility and even develop the spirit of collaboration!

As a leader, build Velocity Culture and be a Velocity Leader!!



Team – Collaborative Climate