Sunday, March 02, 2014

What Do I Need to Practice?

Here is our monthly column from our guest book reporter, Don Kardux, owner of Business Navigators.  If you'd like to send Don a comment, please send an email to

Talent is Overrated, by Geoff Colvin

I wish I had the innate talent “the natural ability to do something better than most people can do” like Tiger Woods, Warren Buffet, Mozart or Itzhak Perlman.
If I had ‘talent’ like that I could be a ‘world class performer.'
“Wrong,” says Geoff Colvin, formally a senior editor at large for Fortune magazine.
There are other elements that Colvin believes are the real definers of ‘World Class Performance.”
  •          Well designed practice activities
  •        Coaching
  • ·        Repetition
  • ·        Feedback
  • ·        Self-regulation
  • ·        Building knowledge
  • ·        Mental Models
In the first six chapters he defines and illustrates these elements. Scientific research coupled with delightful stories help to clarify and validate his point of view. 
Chapter seven and eight focus on applying these principles in our lives and organizations.

He finishes the book looking at Innovation, Age and Passion.
In the afterword he mentions some of the effects the book has had on those who read it.
“After I presented this material in a seminar for managers, one of them experiencing a sudden epiphany, raised his hand and exclaimed, ‘I’ve got chess players, but I’m training them like musicians’ “.  (You’d have to read the book to get it)
A medical products firm applied his principles to a product roll out with their sales training approach and increased from average sales of 1.5% to a 10.5% and from an average prospect conversion rate of 25% to 95%.
This is a steak dinner and a four course read.
In short, what separate World-Class Performers from everybody else? Practice in using the elements. Practice does not make perfect. Well designed practice does!

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