Have you experienced your Potentialife?

Developing leadership with Potentialife
By Alex Burden, Senior Digital Editor

30 May 2016

What do you consider a good metric or indication of real change? How many courses have you attended at the expense of vital working hours, when you could have easily read associated documents at your desk?

More importantly, if you learn something new, how do you make it stick?

Professional development at ICAS extends to any activity that enables CAs to attain and maintain their professional competence. It’s becoming imperative to build effective leadership skills within an organisation, or as a private practitioner, to increase efficiency, positivity, and reflection skills. All of these elements have a measurable impact on engagement and productivity.

It is our objective to transform professional development for our members, starting with relevant career support and a focus on personal impact to overhaul traditional development approaches. Our new programme, Make your professional development count, has three focus areas of: Technical; Leadership & Management; and Careers.

A central pillar of our new leadership suite of programmes includes Potentialife, a new kind of leadership development targeting all levels of the business to add value.

What is Potentialife?

Potentialife was founded by Tal Ben-Shahar, a Harvard University lecturer, and former McKinsey partner, Angus Ridgway. With over 50 years of experience developing leadership qualities between them, companies and individuals who have completed the course reported an average 49% performance increase.

"Organisations that have a lot of great leaders have a much greater chance of being successful than those that don’t."

We put our questions on the how’s and why’s of leadership development to Tal and Angus. “My background is in the field of positive psychology; the science of thriving, flourishing and wellbeing,” explains Tal. As he spent time with clients, he increasingly noticed that the most successful people were also those that seemed to be thriving.

“I could see that, whereas the received wisdom is that it is success that leads to happiness, the causality seemed to be the other way round: it is flourishing that leads to greater success. Those individuals who are flourishing in every aspect of their lives are more likely to be successful.”

Angus comes to Potentialife after 20 years of strategy consulting at McKinsey, where he led their Strategy Practice for Europe, the Middle East and Africa: “I became interested in leadership because I could see that companies’ strategies, no matter how good they are, sometimes just aren't enough.”

Angus saw that the missing link that makes for successful strategies was leadership. “Those organisations that have a lot of great leaders have a much greater chance of being successful than those that don’t,” he explains.

“We created Potentialife because we could see that a new type of leadership is required for the modern era, and that the existing approaches of the time were not adapted to this era,” says Angus.

“In short, organisations are recognising that they need many more leaders than before – 100s or even 1000s - in any case, many more than the selected few who were considered ‘the leaders’ in traditional organisations.

“We could see that in this modern era, the best ways to develop new leadership behaviours at scale is to focus on development through personal flourishing,” adds Tal. “In other words, if you have an organisation full of people who are ‘on fire’, just imagine the possibilities! Potentialife gives organisations a tool that allows them to develop (in a lasting way, and at scale) those flourishing leadership behaviours that are so essential to successful strategies.”

But, does everyone have the potential to be a great leader? “Leadership doesn’t stop with the folks at the top. Everyone can be a leader, with a form of leadership that is relevant to their context,” Tal reasons.

“To take just one example; supermarket checkout-clerks can fulfil their roles in more or less ‘leaderly’ ways, and the effect in terms of productivity and customer satisfaction can be striking.”

Tal and Angus also understand that it’s not possible to continually take time out of work to attend professional development courses, which is why they have developed a blended online, app and in-person support stream to continually guide you through your goals.

Realising your full potential doesn’t happen overnight, and requires strategic action as well as the desire to change. Choose a tailored experience with ICAS and Potentialife.

Sign up now

  • Launching in London in October 2016, an early bird rate of £1,795 is available exclusively for ICAS members until the end of September (normally £4,000).
  • Special price of £1,645 each for team bookings of minimum five people (must include one CA).
  • Go to ‘Make your professional development count’ for further details.


  • England and Wales
  • Leadership and management
  • Scotland
  • London and Home Counties

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