Talent vs. Hard Work

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Are you a talented coach/business man or a hard working one? Read this post and decide for yourself then post to comments…. WARNING: it’s a long post and full of great ideas.

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. ~ Calvin Coolidge

*(this section was found at this site)

Talent or Hard Work?

Many high-performing executives will tell you they don’t rely on their innate talents as much as their hard-earned skills.

CEOs like A.G. Lafley of P&G and GE’s Jeffery Immelt have said that being forced to manage through crises early in their careers enhanced their abilities in ways that were critical to becoming CEOs.

Certain practices can make our experiences especially productive:

· Coaching helps.
· Receiving feedback allows us to fine-tune our skills.
· Working in a safe learning environment is essential.

Workplaces encourage practice and development, and mistakes should be viewed as learning opportunities. You also need to clearly define and develop a plan for achieving the abilities you wish to hone, including a measurable time frame.

10,000 Hours or 10 Years

Malcolm Gladwell makes the case for 10,000 hours of practice to attain expertise in his book Outliers (Little, Brown & Co., 2008). Almost all child prodigies in music, sports, chess and the arts seem to put in 10,000 hours before they attain expertise and produce significant results.

Malcolm Gladwell: Outliers: The Story of Success

The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance, edited by Anders Ericsson, Charness and Feltovich, et al, compiles scientific studies to prove the point in a wide variety of fields. The trait we commonly call talent is highly overrated. Expert performers “whether in memory or surgery, ballet or computer programming” are nearly always made, not born.

Many of us have already put in more than a decade of doing what we do. The question is whether we’re practicing the right things, in the right way.

Deliberate Practice

Anders Ericsson and his scientific colleagues emphasize the importance of deliberate practice, characterized by several elements:

· It is an activity designed specifically to improve performance, often with the help of a teacher, coach or expert.
· It can be repeated frequently.
· Feedback on results is continuously available.
· It’s highly demanding mentally.
· It isn’t much fun and entails hard work.

If you think you’ve outgrown the need for a teacher or coach, it’s time to challenge this assumption. Without a clear, unbiased view of your performance, you cannot choose the best practice activities.

Hire a coach who can properly stretch you beyond your current abilities and help you move out of your comfort zones. Otherwise, human nature dictates that you’re likely to spend your time practicing what you already know how to do.

According to Noel Tichy, PhD, a professor of organizational behavior and human resources management at the University of Michigan School of Business, our progress depends on leaving our comfort zone to enter the learning zone, where skills and abilities are just out of reach.



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