made not born.jpg

So, you think the big rainmaker is blessed with some innate gift that makes it easy for him or her? That would be great if it were true, because then the rest of us would have a built-in, bullet-proof excuse for not even trying.

Unfortunately, some pesky research proves that that convenient belief just doesn’t fly.

The article "The Making of an Expert" argues that outstanding or elite performance in any field is "the product of years of deliberate practice and coaching, not of any innate talent or skill." Experts are made, not born: elite performers in fields ranging from music to arts to mathematics to neurology could not be correlated with early indicators that could have predicted success - research has indicated that "there is no correlation between IQ and expert performance…." 

So, I guess this means that we have to earn it, after all.

According to the research, the key characteristics behind the development of "experts" (defined as outstanding leaders in their chosen fields of endeavour") are:

  • “deliberate practice”
  • outstanding coaching, feedback and mentorship
  • a significant investment of effort over time (typically ten years or more)

Deliberate practice does not mean grinding away for hours on end, but focused, concentrated training, techniques of visualization and scenario planning. The key point with training and practice is not the length of time spent practicing: it is the amount of quality focused practice and training undertaken on a regular basis. It involves systematic efforts and consistent application.

The authors argue that "it takes time to become an expert" - typically "a minimum of ten years (or 10,000 hours) to acquire skills, develop familiarity and relationships in your professional domain, and to build the capabilities and relationship infrastructure to position yourself for success.

Finally, those who reach elite performance success or "expert" status "seek out constructive, even painful, feedback” and coaching.

So, when will you get started making yourself into a producer, and creating the practice that you want?


I can't help you with the "effort over time" part, but if you want to explore a coaching relationship, get in touch. I'll keep the feedback closer to the "constructive" end of the spectrum rather than the "painful" end. For the "focused practice" part, each of RainmakerVT's interactive simulations allow you to practice as often as you want from the privacy of your computer.