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Talent Is Overrated What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else Geoff Colvin. 2008. New York: Portfolio.

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Presentation on theme: "Talent Is Overrated What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else Geoff Colvin. 2008. New York: Portfolio."— Presentation transcript:

1 Talent Is Overrated What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else Geoff Colvin New York: Portfolio.

2 The Mystery What makes Jack Welch, Tiger Woods, or Itzak Perlman so awesomely, amazingly, world-class excellent. – Natural talent? – Hard work? – Years of experience? None of the above. Good news? Excellent performance is in our hands far more than most of us ever expected.

3 Research In past 30 years scientists have looked into top- level performance in a wide variety of fields. Findings: – Natural talent doesnt explain top-level performance – if talent even exists. – In fields such as chess, music, business, and medicine, high IQ doesnt necessarily correlate with top-level performance. Some chess masters have below average IQ, for example. – Deliberate practice is the key.

4 Deliberate Practice Deliberate practice is extremely difficult. – The chief constraint is mental. – The required concentration is so intense that its exhausting. Why do some people have the passion to do it? – To put themselves through it day after day, decade after decade? But they do it, and as a result, performance in all fields has improved dramatically in recent decades.

5 Research In England researchers studied music students. – The only difference in the top performing group and other students was not talent, but the amount of practice. Talent is an innate ability to do something better than others. – If it does exist, it is irrelevant to superior performance. – Practice is what counts – deliberate practice.

6 Mozarts talent is a myth. – He didnt get great until after he had 10,000 hours of practice. Tiger Woods talented? – His father gave Tiger a putter when he was seven months old. – Before he was two he and his father were on a course practicing regularly. – Both father and son attribute Tigers success not to talent but to hard work.

7 How Important Are Smarts? What are smarts? – Memory? – We arent born with good memories, they are developed… With deliberate practice memory can be improved (102 random digits is the record). – IQ? IQ is the ability to take an IQ test, nothing else. No correlation between general IQ and success. Domain-specific knowledge and intelligence is developed by years of deliberate practice.

8 Deliberate Practice Design practice to work on specific skills. – Practice alone and on specific weaknesses. Practice is cumulative. – Over the years it adds up. – And if youre behind, its hard to catch up. – Ten years or 10,000 hours.

9 Five Elements of Deliberate Practice Activity specifically designed to improve performance, often with a teachers help. Activity that can be repeated a lot – over and over and over again. Feedback on results is continuously available. Its highly demanding mentally. – Chess, business, sports It isnt much fun.

10 Designed Identify certain sharply defined elements of performance that need to be improved. High repetition is the most important difference between regular practice and deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is an effort of focused concentration and is mentally draining. – No more than five hours. Its not fun because you do things were not good at so we can correct mistakes.

11 Top Performers They are always striving to improve. – Not complacent. – Never let performance become automatic. They understand the significance of indicators that average performers dont even notice. – Intuition They look further ahead. They know more from seeing less. – A few important indicators. Jack Welch concentrated on hiring people.

12 Applying the Principles Know where you want to go. Practice, practice, practice (deliberate practice). Deepen your domain knowledge. – Build a mental model of how your domain functions as a system. A mental model forms a framework on which you hang your growing knowledge of your domain. Helps you distinguish relevant information from irrelevant information. Helps you project what will happen next.

13 Know More (Explore) When you know more, you innovate more. When you know more, you are more creative. When you know more, you are more successful.

14 Summary Know how to practice deliberately. – Lots of repetitions – Lots of feedback – Lots of focus and concentration Become an expert in domain-specific knowledge. – Thus, develop insightful intuition. Never become complacent. Its really hard work.

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