The differences between Potential, Readiness and Performance

Potential, readiness, and performance are related concepts that refer to different aspects of an individual's abilities and outcomes. Here are the key differences between these three terms:

  1. Potential: Potential refers to an individual's inherent or latent capacity to perform well in a certain area. It is the underlying ability or talent that a person possesses, regardless of their current level of skill or experience. Potential can be thought of as the upper limit of what an individual can achieve with the right training, practice, and opportunities. Effective measures of potential are standardised psychometric assessments, such as cognitive ability tests and personality inventories, as well as structured interviews that focus on career goals, self-awareness, motivation, and experience.

  2. Readiness: Readiness refers to an individual's current level of preparedness or ability to perform a particular task or role. It takes into account not only their potential but also their experience, training, and resources. Readiness can be thought of as the degree to which an individual is ready to apply their potential in a specific context. It is best assessed through in-depth structured interviews and realistic business simulations, such as business cases and role plays.

  3. Performance: Performance refers to the actual outcomes or results that an individual achieves in a given task or role. It is a measure of how well they actually apply their potential and readiness in a specific situation. Performance can be influenced by a variety of factors, including motivation, effort, resources, and external circumstances.

To illustrate the differences between these concepts, consider the example of a professional athlete. The athlete's potential may be determined by their natural physical abilities and genetic makeup, which may give them a high ceiling for performance in their sport. Their readiness might be influenced by factors such as their level of training, experience, and access to resources such as coaching and equipment. Finally, their performance will be determined by how well they apply their potential and readiness in actual competitions, taking into account factors such as their physical condition, mental focus, and the skills of their opponents.

In summary, potential, readiness, and performance are related but distinct concepts that describe different aspects of an individual's abilities and outcomes. Potential refers to inherent capacity, readiness to current preparedness, and performance to actual outcomes achieved.

At Awair, we design and implement assessment and development centres to provide organisations with a scientific, objective, and behaviourally-based evaluation of these components. Contact us now to find out more.