Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin

  • Deliberate practice is the key to top performance in any discipline

    • Designed specifically to improve performance

    • It can be repeated a lot

    • Feedback is continuously available

    • It is highly mentally demanding

    • It isn't much fun

  • Deliberate practice allows us to avoid doing something automatically --> always getting better 83
  • "Domain expertise" is essential in managers and more important than "general managerial ability" 97
  • Practicing Directly

    • Music model - how to give good presentations (110)

    • Chess model "case method" - predict news and see how you do

    • Sports model - conditioning

  • Rich mental model contributes to great performance

    • forms framework on which you can hang your knowledge of domain

    • helps distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information

    • enables you to make predictions about what will happen next

  • Deliberate practice in organizations

    • people aren't just doing a job, but growing

    • find ways to develop leaders in their jobs

    • encourage leaders to be active in the community

    • understand the critical roles of teachers and feedback

    • identify promising performers early

    • development works better through inspiration than authority

    • invest time/money/energy into developing people

    • make leadership development part of the culture

  • "A telling indicator is how interns get others to work with them when they have absolutely no authority" (133)
  • "Trust is the most fundamental element of a winning team" (139)
  • great performance is driven by intrinsic motivation
  • Great performance hinges on two questions (204):

    • What do you really want?

    • What do you really believe?

  • This book describes how to become great at something, assuming you know what that is. However, it does not spend much time asking the question of why we become great at something. My feeling is that there is nothing that I want to be great enough at that I would make the necessary sacrifices in relationships, etc. to reach that. He describes on example: "all three sisters decided there was more to life than chess" (78).
  • "How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been; how gloriously different are the saints."-C. S. Lewis 2013-04-03-Mere Christianity