1st Edition

Determining Leadership Potential Powerful Insights to Winning at the Talent Game

By Kimberly Janson, Melody Rawlings Copyright 2023
    180 Pages 6 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    180 Pages 6 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    We are in the midst of a leadership crisis that is derailing business success, and it’s time to get rigorous about talent. This book will show you how, with an effective and consistent framework, to help galvanize decision-makers around leadership potential.

    Time and time again, organizations place too many leaders in roles they are not a good fit for. The financial, strategic, and human costs of poor leadership are staggering and unnecessary. But organizations that effectively identify high-potential talent are likely to financially outperform those that do not do this work by a factor of 4.2 to 1, not to mention all the other positive impacts. Backed by the authors’ research, including a study with 50+ global CEOs, the insights and strategies packed into this book will help you eliminate the shocking variation that exists in how people think about determining leadership potential – and empower decision-makers to be game-changers to optimize their organizations.

    For too long, leadership potential has been treated as an imprecise art and inconsistently applied. CEOs, board members, senior managers, and HR professionals will welcome the thought-provoking insights and practical tools this book gives to build a pipeline of strong leaders.

    1. The Potential of Potential 2. Bias and Determining Leadership Potential (Co-Authored by Dani Monroe) 3. The Leadership Blueprint Explained 4. What the Research Says 5. What CEOs Say 6. What do we mean by intelligence? 7. What do we mean by personality? 8. What do we mean by motivation? 9. What do we mean by learning agility? 10. Assessments and Tools 11. Wrapping it up and putting ideas into action


    Dr. Kimberly Janson is a 25+-year talent and organizational development executive working in 40+ countries, with 300+ companies. As CEO of Janson Associates and founder of Legacy Farms, she has been named a Top 10 Thought Leader and Top 10 Executive Coach in 2021. Working with C-suite leaders, teams, businesses, and individuals, Kim enables change to achieve stellar business results. Kim also authored Demystifying Talent Management, winner of the Axion Book Award.

    Dr. Melody Rawlings is a business professor, doctoral chair, and director of the Center for the Advancement of Virtual Organizations at Northcentral University. She has led remote teams for 10+ years and is a frequent presenter at international conferences. She has developed partnerships between corporations and higher ed, and has managed her own business. Melody has authored peer-reviewed publications on leadership topics and has taught internationally in Europe and Asia.

    "I recommend any book by Kim Janson… to CEOs and to those who aim to be one. I’ve been CEO for six public companies and learned more from Kim than from any expert or consultant. She made my team better and me too. She can do the same for you."

    Terry Considine, CEO of Apartment Income REIT Corp.

    "Dr. Kim Janson is a master architect of leadership assessment and building high performing teams. Working together in two companies, she was the catalyst for managers dynamically expanding their leadership potential, which in turn sparked high velocity corporate growth. Determining Leadership Potential: Powerful Insights to Winning at the Talent Game delivers the ultimate blueprint for leadership and success."

    Roger Snell, CEO of Conifer

    "I have been in business over three decades, used many resources in my career, and have never had someone so effective, so quickly. Kim Janson is strong yet encouraging. She is approachable and forward thinking. Kim is helpful and effective with me as a CEO as well as anyone else on the organizational chart. I truly wish Kim would have appeared to me years ago but I’m pleased she is on the team today. We have a great foundation and high potential which I am confidant will continue to deliver outsized returns. Accordingly, I highly recommend Determining Leadership Potential: Powerful Insights to Winning at the Talent Game. Leadership and talent development is a never ending journey filled with unlimited potential and we all should be so lucky as to have Kim on our team."

    Brad Chambers, CEO of Buckingham Companies, Secretary of Commerce at the State of Indiana

    "Is there a business topic more important than leadership potential? Yet, for too long companies have relied on back-of-the envelope-thinking. Not anymore. Determining Leadership Potential: Powerful Insights to Winning at the Talent Game brings deep research and practical experience together to finally lay out the key building blocks that help make leaders great. After reading this book you’ll never again have to wonder whether you’re assessing leadership potential effectively."

    Sydney Finkelstein, Professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, author of the bestsellers Why Smart Executives Fail and Superbosses, and host of the podcast, The Sydcast.

    "The book we have needed for decades! For the past 37 years I have worked with organizations around the world on leadership and I am so excited by the research and recommendations in this book. Companies, associations, and communities NEED better leaders and this book provides both the reason and the blueprint. Kim has distilled the concept of leadership into a tangible set of attributes that empower organizations to be intentional in their organizational development. If we are to chart a path forward that delivers on our collective promise, it will be through the methodology identified and articulated by Kim Janson."

    Dave Mitchell, President of the Leadership Difference, Inc. and author of The Power of Understanding People

    "A key element in leadership development is assessment. This important book offers a step-by-step guide for assessing and developing leaders for today and tomorrow."

    Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology at Claremont McKenna College

    "One has to read this book carefully to use it well. It's worth it. The process of identifying and developing effective leaders is the highest priority for sustained organizational success. Authors Kimberly Janson and Melody Rawlings have produced a superb resource for doing this. This excellent book is ideal for practicing leaders and human resource professionals responsible for leadership talent management. Determining Leadership Potential: Powerful Insights to Winning at the Talent Game is appropriate for all sizes and forms of business, government, and non-profit organizations."

    George Manning, Professor and author of numerous books including The Art of Leadership

    "Determining Leadership Potential: Powerful Insights to Winning at the Talent Game provides a fresh perspective on leadership and the potential of employees to rise to the challenges and opportunities faced in today’s business environment. Dr. Kimberly Janson and Dr. Melody Rawlings have documented extensive research, along with a plethora of academic references and practical tips, including quotations from 50+ leading CEOs. The book is equally relevant for academics, leadership coaches, leaders, managers, and aspiring leaders across large and small organizations to reflect on their leadership practice and become more proficient in determining leadership potential."

    Catherine Mattiske, CEO / Managing Director of TPC – The Performance Company

    "I was intrigued when Dr. Janson reached out and thrilled when I realized I had discovered a kindred spirit. She comprehends deeply the impact of leadership on business performance, not just at the executive level, but throughout the fabric of any organization. Her work here shows a depth and breadth of understanding that will serve any leader well in their own personal journey."

    Bill Hewitt, CEO, founder, and managing member at WindMill Hill Advisors

    "Having worked with my friend Kim as a colleague and advisor for more than 15 years, first at H.J.Heinz and then at FrieslandCampina, and having gotten so much out of her first book, Demystifying Talent Management, I cannot wait to benefit from Determining Leadership Potential – Powerful Insights to Winning at the Talent Game in my daily and dairy business life. I truly appreciate Kim for her laser-sharp analysis and inspiring coaching style."

    Jan Kruise, Senior Vice President Europe at FrieslandCampina

    "The chief differentiator between the success and failure of any organization - be it a private company or an intelligence agency - is its ability to select good leaders and to place those people in positions where they can have the biggest positive impacts. In her new book Determining Leadership Potential: Powerful Insights into Winning at the Talent Game, Kim Janson takes on this crucial challenge. Combining her own deep experience in the leadership development arena with the experiences of CEO’s working in a broad range of industries, Kim provides readers with a blueprint to assist executives in identifying and growing the future leaders of their organizations. Putting the right people in the right place and optimizing their opportunity to succeed ought to be a central focus of every senior leader; Kim’s book helps them do so!"

    Mark Kelton, former Deputy Director for Counterintelligence at CIA National Clandestine Service 

    "Janson & Rawlings have hit a home run. They’ve built on the sound research of Allan Church and Rob Silzer. DLP provides leaders and HR professionals a pragmatic roadmap to aid them in determining which of their talent can go far & fast."

    Jim Shanley, President of The Shanley Group, Former Head of Leadership Development and Staffing at Bank of America

    "It is very difficult for me to properly describe the impact Kimberly Jansen has had on our organization in a few short sentences. So simply stated, it is nothing short of profound. She has allowed my team to communicate, strategize and grow through better communication and alignment of team goals. And because of this, there is more meaning, purpose and fun going down our path."

    Paul Odland, founder and CEO of Belveron Partners

    "The author, Dr. Kimberly Janson, wants nothing short than to change the world for the better and this book is a strong step in that direction. We need better leaders and it starts by improving our ability to determine leadership potential!"

    Mike O’Donnell, Chairman at California Pizza Kitchen, and former Chairman and CEO of Ruth’s Hospitality Group

    "Kim is a highly engaged and driven coach working to unleash our potential at Pure Development. Her book is an eye-opener and a blueprint for determining true leadership potential. The book is also a big-time reminder of the negative impact of having the wrong person in a leadership role. The chapters on personality and motivation are so very enlightening, a must read!"

    Chris Seger and Drew Sanders, co-founders of Pure Development

    "Dr. Janson makes a strong case for the 'burning platform' of leader selection and development. Will companies other than the Pepsi’s of the world have an appetite to do what must be done to 'win'?"

    David F. Hoff, COO EASI Consult and author of Learning Agility: The Key to Leader Potential and Developing Learning Agility: Using the Burke Assessments

    "Like it or not, a select group of individuals generate a disproportionate impact. These difference makers are contagious and create a positive multiplying effect on those around them. The challenge, however, is finding these high-potential leaders so that they can be positioned for future success. Janson and Rawlings have cracked the code by highlighting the vital characteristics of these rising leaders. If you are in the business of performance, you must read this book."

    Michael J. Arena, Vice President Talent at Amazon Web Services and author of Adaptive Space

    "Determining Leadership Potential: Powerful Insights to Winning at the Talent Game is a game-changer when it comes to hiring, developing, and retaining top talent and maintaining a deep bench of high potential talent.  The Leadership Blueprint is the first tool I have found that gives a tangible roadmap for assessing leadership potential, and it works. I have a copy of the Leadership Blueprint taped to the bottom of my computer screen as a constant reminder. This book is a must read for all who have struggled to accurately assess leadership potential."

    Jennifer Johnson, Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel at AIMCO

    "A must read for every HR and talent management professional! Finding the right person for your company and team doesn't need to be a guessing game. Beautifully written and researched, Determining Leadership Potential: Powerful Insights to Winning at the Talent Game will arm you with the tools you need to identify the best leaders for each role and help your business thrive."

    Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, Thinkers50#1 Executive Coach and New York Times bestselling author

    "Dr. Kimberly Janson’s experience and wisdom is identifying leaders is distilled in Determining Leadership Potential: Powerful Insights to Winning at the Talent Game and is especially relevant for high growth organizations that tend to select leaders based upon on their past individual performance rather than true leadership potential. Having the pleasure of Kim’s first hand advice and counsel, this book is a must read for high growth organizations."

    Yat-Pang Au, CEO of Veritas Investments  

    "Determining Leadership Potential: Powerful Insights to Winning at the Talent Game is a must-read for any executive. This book addresses a core structural deficiency many organizations face today and provides a real-world road map on how we can truly elevate our "talent game.""

    Nicholas Gross, Senior Vice President of AAR CORP

    "The leadership blueprint is really an amazing approach to identify who are the best talent and this book, Determining Leadership Potential: Powerful Insights to Winning at the Talent Game, does an amazing job of providing ideas of how to put it into action. In a moving and volatile environment, it is critical to understand how to define a talent and who is ready for big roles. It is all about ownership, self-awareness, and potential to grow."

    Jacques Pradels, Chief Sales Officer at The Kraft Heinz Company.

    "Leading and building leaders in tumultuous times is never easy - the insight that Dr. Janson and Dr. Rawlings give us in this book are incredibly helpful in this endeavor. This is an insightful, well-written, and incredibly timely text. This will become a staple in my, and many other people's toolkits who are tasked with leading and developing leaders."

    William J. Quinn III, DBA, Vice President of Operations at Roscom, Inc.

    "With dedicated research gleaned from a wide group of executives representing decades of leadership and leadership development, Kim Janson’s book, Determining Leadership Potential: Powerful Insights to Winning at the Talent Game, tackles and provides insights and guidance concerning one of today’s most needed, yet elusive, management qualities. If you want to improve your odds of making the right choices for people to successfully guide your company now and into the future — this book is for you."

    Sharon Price John, CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc.

    "McKinsey & Co. coined the phrase 'war for talent' in the 1990s when competition was becoming more global, the workforce was aging, and employees were willing to be more mobile. This is even more true now. Employees are in the driver’s seat. This time is being called the Great Resignation or Great Reckoning. It is also a time of Great Attrition or Great Attraction. So, this book is perfectly timed. Leaders need to learn how to attract, develop, and retain talent. The authors use their extensive use of research to distill wisdom about determining leadership potential. This book is valuable because it can be used in a number of ways with various audiences. Each chapter has a summary of key points and a case study for discussion. There are tools and ideas that can be applied immediately. Based on interviews with more than 50 CEOs, Janson and Rawlings have identified themes and insights that should get the attention of leaders at all levels. True leadership is not about the leaders, but how well they lift up others—develop leadership potential. This is an important book to add to my (and anyone’s) business library."

    Jann E. Freed, PhD., Leadership Development and Change Management Consultant at The Genysys Group, and author of Leading with Wisdom: Safe Advice from 100 Experts and Breadcrumb Legacy

    "As a leadership consultant, trainer, executive coach, professor, and author, I’ve read hundreds of books on the topic of leadership, but this terrific new work by Kim Janson and Melody Rawlings takes an insightful, informative, and inspiring look at how we determine people’s leadership potential in the first place. From defining basic terminology and providing an innovative framework to real-world interviews, research-backed examples, and thought-provoking case studies, this book takes a fresh look at leadership potential that will appeal both to academics and business professionals alike. In fact, I will immediately be adding Determining Leadership Potential: Powerful Insights to Winning at the Talent Game to the syllabi for my NYU and Columbia leadership graduate courses, as well as recommending it to all of my executive coaching clients."

    Todd Cherches, CEO of BigBlueGumball, and author of VisuaLeadership: Leveraging the Power of Visual Thinking in Leadership and in Life

    "In a global business world containing, as the authors of this book out it, 'amazing leaders,' why do we also come across so many 'mismatched leaders' and just plain poor ones? Obviously, there’s a problem here that needs to be resolved and this book will enable that to begin happening. The authors have researched this problem thoroughly, extracting from their research not only insights but a plan of effectual action. It’s time for companies to start resolving this problem now! Read this book and learn from it … and take action!"

    Ken Lizotte CMC, Chief Imaginative Officer of Emerson Consulting Group Inc., and author of The Expert’s Edge: Become the Go-To Authority People Turn To Every Time

    "'If it weren’t for the people, it’d be easy,' a joking lamentation too often uttered when outcomes aren’t as intended. Well, we can’t assume away the challenges…and, as we know, it’s the people – or more precisely the right leaders in the right roles – that enable and drive success. Sounds simple, but as Kim and Melody describe, we make it much too difficult. We are less systematic about leadership selection than about just about anything else in our business world! And, yet leadership selection is a fundamental difference maker. In Kim’s characteristic manner, this book pulls back the curtain on this pervasive shortcoming, shown us the consequences, and challenges us to do better. And, because Kim is all about 'unleashing potential,' the book clearly sets forth an actionable framework to make real this mission critical work. After this, we have no excuses!"

    Lisa R. Cohn, President and General Counsel at AIR Communities 

    "Most executives and HR professionals believe they know leadership potential when they see it – unfortunately they are often wrong and the consequences of poor leadership can be devasting on the business. In Determining Leadership Potential: Powerful Insights to Winning at the Talent Game, Janson and Rawlings present a compelling case for change and offer a comprehensive, actionable and much needed guide for raising the bar on talent. If you truly care about identifying strong leaders for the future of your business, you need this book by your side."

    Allan H. Church, PhD, SVP Global Talent Management at PepsiCo, Inc.

    "One of the hardest things to do for a coach is to assess the potential of his coaches and then grow and develop them to exceed the same! Dr Janson’s book outlines an effective way to approach this challenge."

    Niren Chaudhary, CEO of Panera Bread

    "Goes beyond offering a compelling case for being intentional about developing leadership potential and provides actionable insights and steps for doing so. Well-researched and full of practical examples."

    Barry Z. Posner, PhD, Endowed Professor of Leadership and Chair at the Department of Management & Entrepreneurship, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University, and co-author of the best-selling and award-winning book The Leadership Challenge

    "Determining Leadership Potential: Powerful Insights to Winning at the Talent Game is a timely examination of the alarming dearth of successful leaders. It is a well-researched and insightful study which sheds light on a proven and very practical approach for assessing leadership potential."

    Julia Stewart, Founder and CEO of Alurx

    "At a time when we are struggling with the 'great resignation' many businesses are struggling to retain talent. Organizations must identify the right leaders who can see through the fog, lead through disruption, and provide compelling engagement for all employees. Dr. Janson and Dr. Rawlings have authored a timely and relevant book designed for organizational thought leaders."

    Eugene Wilkerson, PhD, NCU Interim Co-President and CEO, Dean and Professor, School of Business

    "Useful insights and practical framework for determining leadership potential (backed by science)! Dr. Janson offers a more thorough and contemporary way to examine the notion of leadership potential at various leadership levels. CEOs, Executives, HR professionals, Executive Coaches, Leadership Scholars and Business Leaders will all benefit from the clear criteria for identifying high potential talent and recommended applications."

    Tiffany Dotson, PhD, Vice President and Head of Enterprise Learning & Development at Liberty Mutual Insurance