Thursday, December 27, 2012

10000 hour rule - Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell's latest book OUTLIERS talks about what separates the stars from everyone else. It isn't raw talent. It is sheer persistence--those who practiced harder did better, and those who practiced insanely hard became wildly successful.  Can the same be applied to Naval leadership?
Gladwell dubs this phenomenon the "10,000-hour rule." I think this can be applied equally to leadership. Becoming truly great at anything -- (leadership included) -- requires ten years of experience and 1,000 hours of practice per year. "Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness," he argues.

Becoming a leader requires "deliberate practice."

What are the elements of 'deliberate practice'? It's designed explicitly to improve performance -- the little adjustments that make a big difference. It's repetitive, which means that when it's time to perform for real, you don't feel the pressure. It's informed by continuous feedback; practicing leadership only works if you can see how you're improving.

Bits and pieces paraphrased (and others cut and pasted) from HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

Ten thousand hours at 1,000 hours a year is a long time and if you wait those ten years for a Midshipman to become a leader and he does not put in those theoretical hours he has ruined the program for all those that did not know they were dependent on this one individual. This piece is theoretical gibberish in my opinion because many of us country boys started that process of being a leader when we were just children and that carried over into our service time. That does not mean that every country boy begins his leadership instruction at an early age and follows through on it, but it certainly helped me to become a recognized leader in far less that ten years of Navy service, at age 15 I was a foreman on an 800 acre ranch, no one called me foreman but I was certainly held responsible for giving the 2 to 3 ranch hands their duties and orders each day on Ralph Kaisers spread. And if the orders that Ralph Kaiser gave me did not get carried out guess who got reprimanded. I was held responsible for the chores, such as milking the cows, caring for the rest of the stock, seeing to the upkeep of the ranch equipment, as well as giving the hands their work assignments each day, I worked alongside the hands every day and they were usually surprised at the work I could do, I had been doing ranch work for a number of years and that was required of country kids back in those days. When I look back on those days I count nearly everything that happened as a leadership experience. It did not matter whether it was how long it took for a man to gather a team of horses and put these horses in work harness and get out in the fields to start work, or the time it took for him to prepare the cows for milking and to complete that job, or for him to rake 50 acres of seasoned millet or alfalfa and make it be a proper job done by pulling the hay out of holes and away from fence lines where the bullrake could have the best access to all the racked hay. Every job on the ranch was important, and it was the hands that had to complete those jobs every day to make the ranch enough profit to continue doing this work every year. Country boys have not been looked at by the typical Navy Officer as being effective Navyman, but many of these Officers were wrong and they never understood what these country boys could contribute to their ship.

I had less than 6 years in the Navy and I found myself as the leading FT on two different Gearing Class Destroyers, I had had the advantage of having a FTC make me become involved in every job that came up on a Destroyer. He was there as a backup but required me to do the job in general, I thought he was tough on me but he was just preparing me to do any job that may come about.

I never put a thousand hours a year into leadership training in those years, I depended on the leadership I had learned for maybe 15 years prior to that time that commenced back on the ranches of Colorado in my youth, and I always looked at leadership from the standpoint of teaching horses to do what you wanted them do by using continual and persistent methods that this team would become accustomed to, and would therefore follow at the leaders slightest command, Sailors are no different and you can shape their minds by using the same methods, I found that this worked for me for the remainder of my years in the Navy and to this day I am content that I raised many Sailors who no doubt became leaders that were respected for their abilities to have others follow their leadership advice.

Very Respectfully,