I realize now that there is an aspect of this question that is forcing me to make something of a prediction. Ever since I bought hundreds of shares of telecom stocks in the mid-90s (and we all know how that turned out!), I go out of my way to avoid the temptation to make predictions.

Sometime earlier this year, I was struck by a headline from the i4cp report on Talent Mobility: “Experiential learning is a powerful teacher.” The report noted that high-performing organizations are much more likely (than low-performing organizations) to expose their high potentials to a variety of learning environments, including traditional coursework, virtual learning, business simulations, job rotations, international assignments, and much more.

When most professionals begin their careers, they are full of energy, optimism, and ambition. These sources of fuel are in many ways dependent on the quality of the job experiences we have along the way.

No matter who you are, your pedigree, your role, your industry, your potential for greatness—you will have opportunity to deal with:

  1. your own personal blunders;
  2. difficult people; and
  3. challenging circumstances.

How each of us responds to these opportunities for learning can be the most influential factor in building character and influencing the value of our contributions.

In an embarrassing conversation with the CEO where I proactively owned up to a personal blunder, he reminded me there are two kinds of people: those who never learn, and those who never make the same mistake twice. Organizations need to deliberately create diverse opportunities for people to perform and succeed, while high-potential talent needs to embrace the blunders, people, and circumstances that can become the catalyst for experiential learning.

Read more 2017 talent predictions by other thought leaders.