From: CNNmoney Why talent is overrated. Geoff Colvin, October 21, 2008 (edited)Deliberate Practice is a skill-improvement technique. It's creators claim that success is not based on talent but intensive practice of specific skills. Here's how you do it.
1. Isolate one aspect of performance.
Identify a well-defined element of your performance that needs to be improved. Be very specific and focus on that one thing until it improves.
2. A coach designs your practice
Teachers have detailed knowledge about the elements of superior performance and skill development. A pro should pick a specific skill for you to practice.
3. Repeat the isolated element a lot.
A high rate of repetition is very important. You have to overlearn the skill component.
4. Get Regular Feedback
You need to get very specific and regular feedback from a coach.
5. It's highly demanding
Everyone notes that Deliberate Practice isn't any fun.
You only work on things that you find hard to do and and when you do your repetitions you're not just going through the motions. You're paying attention
to what you're doing, trying to it right.
How To Practice on Your Own
1. Before you work, set small goals.
Idenfity a very specific goal. Not a vague, general goal.
Instead of just winning the order, their goal might be to focus especially hard on discerning the customer's unstated needs.
2. Create a process plan to reach your goal.
Don't be vague. Make a specific, technique-oriented plan.
If the goal is discerning the customer's unstated needs, they might plan to listen for certain key words the customer might use or to ask specific questions to bring out the customer's crucial issues.
Ordinary endurance runners think about anything other than what they're doing. Top runners count their breaths and strides to maintain certain ratios.
This is monitoring your own mind.
When a customer raises a completely unexpected problem in a deal negotiation, an excellent business person can pause mentally and observe his own mental processes as if from outside.
And he asks himself: Have I fully understood what's really behind this objection? Am I angry? Am I being hijacked by my emotions? Do I need a different strategy here? What should it be?
5.Evaluate the Results
Average performers tell themselves that they did great or poorly or okay.
The best performers compare their performance with their personal best or the performance of competitors.
Judge yourself against someone who is a little better than your average so you can have a reasonable goal.
6. Create your next target
Average performers avoid things they can't do well. Excellent performers respond to unsatisfactory results by trying to improve.
Why do certain people put themselves through the years of intensive daily work that eventually makes them great?
The answers depend on two questions:
1. Do you have a strong desire?
The more you want something the easier it is to sustain the required effort.
2. Do you believe you can improve?
What you believe is the foundation of what you can achieve.
If you believe that your performance is limited by your lack of an inborn gift you won't do the work.
Note: Colvin says that studies of successful people don't find that they stand out from their peers before they start intensive training. He claims that the young Bill Gates wasn't any different from his peers. This, he says, is proof that talent is not the differentiator. However, Paul Allen, Bill Gates' partner in Microsoft, wrote a memoir this year. He knew Bill from high school and found him to be smarter and much more hard driving than himself.