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Would You Take a Chance on Seabiscuit?

Seabiscuit winning the Santa Anita Handicap in 1940
Seabiscuit winning the Santa Anita Handicap in 1940

“No question about it: potential is wrapped in great mystery.

Have you seen Seabiscuit? It’s a great movie about a national treasure. In one scene the little horse with a huge heart suffers an injury in a race. Later that night, the vet somberly says the unlikely champion will never race again. Then he makes the obligatory offer: “I know this is difficult, but if you want I can put him down for you.”

Instead Seabiscuit’s benevolent, dogged owner, Charles Howard, brings the horse home to paddock for a chance to recover, no matter how slim.

Seabiscuit started his career as an underperformer given to eat and sleep too much. He was a problem employee not living up to his potential–definitely not managerial material–demoted and finally sent on his way in a RIF. What if his new owner gave up on him? Seabiscuit retired in 1940 as horse racing’s leading money winner.

Noted leadership thinker Max Depree believed it is impossible to predict potential. He said:

“No question about it: potential is wrapped in great mystery. Like rainbows, which are really circles—we see only the upper halves, the horizon hides the rest—potential never reveals its entirety.”

How good are you, how good am I at unlocking unseen potential? It takes faith because what is sure cannot be a mystery.

Who should we take a chance on today?

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