The Potential Squared way of doing things is proudly different. We always knew that our straight talking style would take people by surprise when we got around to actively approaching the American market. That's why we decided to take a few minutes out of Barbara Sucoff’s day, our Managing Director in the USA, to get her opinion on how our workshops are being received.

So Barbara, whats the lowdown on our American showdown with old-fashioned leadership styles?

'Refreshingly direct' is a breath of fresh air

Our programmes are making people sit up and listen because we’re offering something completely new to the market. The culture of honest feedback that we promote has caused a real stir of excitement among the groups that we’ve held sessions with. In our last session, we even had a line up of 19 people waiting around to further engage with our team after the workshop had finished.

We like to open people up to the potential for constructive criticism. This includes answering questions such as “What do you think about me as a leader?”, “What performance issues do I need to address?”, “How can I operate my business better?” Initially people can be caught off guard as they’re not used to this unashamedly forward approach. But once they start to get involved, understand the process and see the potential, most find it very insightful and thank us for it. 

The benefit of feedback that cuts to the heart of the matter

Recently, in one programme we ran, we met a man who simply talked too much. He’d tell the back story, the texture of the story, the context and then the context of the context – and he just couldn’t keep people engaged. But no one ever told him what the problem was. When we spelled out the issue, and potential solutions, he was incredibly thankful for our honest feedback.

In another case, we had a man who had come across as cocky when he first came into the organisation. To correct this, he started using apologetic language. In short, he overcompensated for his perceived arrogance and his overconfidence was translated into passivity. In order to be able to deliver the honest feedback required in cases such as this one, every single member of the Potential Squared team lives the ‘refreshingly direct’ philosophy.


Of course, for feedback to be accepted it needs to come from a reliable and respected source. The trick to ensuring our honest feedback is taken positively is to first form a trusting relationship. I’ve been working in the States for 20 years and I’ve learnt that success is down to encouraging participation and inspiring the people that you are training. In fact, it was because of Potential Squared’s appreciation of this approach that I jumped at the chance to work with them.