"Excellence is not reserved for the lucky few but can be achieved by almost all of us" -- Matthew Syed
I recently completed reading the book "Bounce" by Matthew Syed. Syed is a United Kingdom table tennis champion player that has spent the last decaderesearching "purposeful practice". Syed recognizes that he became a champion not because of innate talent but rather due to learning from experts, being trained bydedicated teachers and putting in a great deal of practice.
"Bounce" made me reflect on my own development and how we develop as leaders. Its practice, not talent that counts. Many of us tend to give up when we cant dosomething new. I distinctively recall giving up golf in 1996 because I was not "good" at it after playing twice. I have not played golf since. I remember facilitating my first business meeting in 1991 and leaving that meeting terrified that I would be fired for lack of talent. Was I embarrassed? Yes. Fortunately for me, I did not give upfacilitating and leading meetings. I decided to practice it.
Numerous research studies show that how long people work at their careers has very little to do with achieving their optimal performance. Being successful requires strong experience and deep concentration. Purposeful practice requires great coaching, the right system and internal motivation. The right coach can give vitalfeedback to improve. The right system ensures that we are using the right techniques and strategies. Our internal motivation determines the amount of effort and time we are willing to put into practice.
As leaders, we are often bombarded with offerings of training and classes. We take these classes and after aweek we revert back to our old behaviors and results. We didnt really learn.
To ensure that real learning takes place and endures, wemust place our concentrated focus on a holistic approach by integrating both formal and informal elements. The most effective way to learn and develop a new skill orbehavior is to apply and PRACTICE it on the job and in reallife situations. Leadership development is built upon how leaders internalize and apply what they learn based on how they acquire the knowledge.
The 70/20/10 formula describes how real learning occurs:
* 70% from real life and on-the-job EXPERIENCES, tasksand problem solving. This is the most important aspect of any leadership development plan.
* 20% from EXPOSURE and feedback from working with role models and coaches.