There is a big gap in the recent literature about developing talent through conscious practice: minimal attention on leadership or managerial skills. For example, Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers describes how the Beatles and Bill Gates became extraordinary at their technical crafts by practicing repeatedly over time. The book popularized the 10,000 hour rule named by psychologist Anders Ericsson. Similarly, Daniel Coyle’s The Talent Code and Geoff Colvin’s Talent Is Overrated reveal the rules of deep practice and deliberate practice, respectively, mostly through the examples of athletes, musicians, and teachers. On an individual level, they talk about breaking skills into chunks, practicing the chunks slowly, and correcting mistakes along the way. On an organizational or cultural level, they talk about apprenticing young people to masters and igniting talent hotbeds that inspire them to commit to long-term deliberate practices.
This is exciting and powerful stuff. Unfortunately, none of these books talk in depth about how to apply deliberate talent practice to management or leadership. OK, I lied: the Epilogue to The Talent Code contains two pages on business, specifically Toyota’s use of kaizen events to continuously improve processes and create high quality products. But, other than this, there is very little about the skills of management. Why the gap? [Read more…] about Why do books about talent ignore management?