Today, the chances are that I'll push you out of your comfort zone. And that's exactly the purpose of this memo: to stimulate thought and action through emotions.
Let’s get to the point: One of the most persistent myths is the one of “talent.”
Science shows there is no more or less talent. There is only more or less willingness to work harder, smarter, and more sustainably on specific goals.
Yes, I know, this takes away the excuse of many people, who prefer not to invest much effort in some tasks because they tell themselves they have "no talent." Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool have demonstrated in numerous studies – explained in their excellent book "PEAK” – that the highest achievers have one behaviour in common: deliberate practice, combined with perseverance.
I'm not talking about the physical benefits of individuals (yes, they exist), but about all of us being able to accomplish almost everything through mental strength and a consistent training program (helped by a support system, including coaches).
What can you do as a business leader to use this to your advantage? Three things:
- Mindset. Anchor for yourself and for the leadership team the mindset that everything is possible. The most successful people simply believe they can achieve a lot more than others think is possible. Most managers believe they have to just survive.
- Challenge. Challenge yourself and the entire team repeatedly. Do not run over burning coals right away (even if that isn’t sometimes a bad thing to do). But some challenges that show that your team they can do more than they often think will surely help.
- Training. This is a classic topic: most people do far too little to keep improving their fitness (especially mental abilities and knowledge) - and apply it. This lack of training leaves incredible potential unleashed.