Tuesday, July 7, 2015

10000 hour rule

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.


Från Glam till Damm said...


A great book indeed. I inhaled it cover to cover on Hawaiian airlines Honolulu - San Diego this fall...together with a bottle of Champagne :-)

Anyhow it made me wonder why, despite this knowledge, people still are so obsessed with overrated academic degrees rather than with experience, when it is proven over and over again that experience, exposure, and practice is the key to success.

Have a lovely day!

Kind regards,

Anneli Kershaw

Aaron Pickett said...

A balancing thought, for the sake of discussion:

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
-Robert A. Heinlein

Narrow focus on a single practice would seem to collide with the Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns, where broadly focused efforts can make quicker progress toward diverse competence.

I tend to argue both sides of the specialization debate at different times...

Anonymous said...

Seems the selection board members ought to read this. They seem to be selecting those without any practical practice in our field