Pondering Greatness and deliberate practice
Posted by Meg Bear on December 24, 2008
Was watching an excellent Charlie Rose last night where he interviewed Malcolm Gladwell and Geoff Colvin on their books about Talent, Performance and Achievement. Some excellent thoughts came through:
- IQ doesn’t make much difference to your performance. After about 120 IQ points, it no longer gives you that much of an advantage. This probably rings true for most of us, as I think we can all name someone who clearly has a high IQ but is not be the most effective person overall.
- Natural talent is mostly a myth. There is such a thing as natural talents, they are necessary but not sufficient for greatness. People who are great at their craft are not great exclusively due to natural talent.
- Deliberate practice is the key. Those who do better, are those who are always looking to improve. Those who push themselves to learn more and perfect their craft. Trying harder really does make the biggest difference.
- You need a lot of practice to be at the top of your craft, 10k hours (approx 10 years) at least . The more the better and after the ten year mark you seem to hit a stride (that I would guess is both about expertise acquired AND commitment to improvement) that begins your path to greatness
Of all that I pondered from this program, number four was the most interesting for me. In thinking of my own career in Talent, I often wonder if I’ve been doing this too long, if maybe there is not enough left for me to learn and moving on might be the right strategy. With this new insight I realize that I’m between 25 and 30k hours into this field, really just hitting my stride. Instead, my time would be best spent continuing to put deliberate practice to work into this field perfecting my craft.
So as I look to 2009 I plan to challenge myself with deliberate practice by
- reading more — staying aware of the progress in our space.
- sharing more — blogs, twitter, conversations, etc.
- growing more — working on communication strategies to help others benefit from those 30k hours, taking on some new skills, etc.
That’s my list, what did I leave off? Help coach me toward greatness readers.