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Deliberate practice, Jim Kouzes, Keynote, The Leadership Challenge Forum 2008

Posted Oct 22 2008 9:30pm


LiveBlogging from the Keynote

Deliberate practice:
1. Setting specific goals
2. Engaging in designed activities
3. Getting immediate feedback
4. Concentrate on technique as well as outcome

Anyone take music lesson?  Piano?  What did your music teacher have you do, practice, practice, practice.  Don't move on until you have it down.  What do we do in leadership development: dabble in this, dabble in that . . . strategic leadership, team building, dabble in something else.  How often do we focus on one thing until people can repeat it over and over again successfully?  Most of us do not spend that kind of time.  Clients don't have the time.

My wife's son, Nicolas, he's been playing tennis for over 10-years.  Recruited to play college tennis, we went to talk to a lot of coaches.  We went to Princeton, how long do you practice? Glenn Michibata: "Two hours per day if you want to stay the same. More if you want to get better." 

How much time do you need to practice to get better? 10 years, 10,000 hours.  Divide 10 years by 10,000 hours the number is 2.7 hours per day.  How many of us practice deliberately 3 hours a day to get better a day at leading?  How many of our clients do this?  How many have clients in leadership development who practice 2.7 hours per day?  How many hours a day do you think Nicolas practices per day? 3 hours.  To get better.

We don't consider the work we do with our clients as an amateur sport, let alone professional.  My latest thing, my hot-button, is the 4-hour work week.  It is not possible to become an expert at anything in 4-hours a week.  Society today wants quick results.  There are no quick results.  We will do a disservice to our clients if we let them believe they can be good leaders in a 2-day workshop once per year.  This creates amateurs.  2 hours per day to stay as you are, more to get better.  Design activities to do this, or we will continue to be led by amateurs and not professionals. 

We can get creative about this.  What can we do?  How can we use this data to create better learning activities?

We can turn meetings, one-on-ones into practice opportunities.  Let's not think about LC as events, but we need to take a step beyond and what those 2 hours every day look like if we are going to move from amateur to professional.

We just finished "The Student Leadership Challenge," we need to begin developing leaders at a much younger age.  Not just what can we do to find the talented people, but what can we do to develop leadership talent at a much earlier age.

Benjamin Bloom's Superior Performers
1. Practiced intensively.
2. Studied with devoted teachers
3. Supported enthusiastically by family
4. Quantity and quality of practice mattered.

Who are your role models [audience response]:
20 business leaders
10 - 12 church leaders, community leaders
0 entertainer
50 family member
5 political leader
2 professional athlete
25 teacher or coach

What do you think people age 18 - 30 would say:
40% Family members
26% Teacher or coach
11% Community leader
7% Business leaders
4% Political leaders

Why do we wait until people get a job to start working on leadership?  How many of you are family members? 100%.  You have the potential to be a leadership role model for somebody in your life.  This changes the discussion about how we develop leaders.  Supportive family and caring coaches--when they get to us they already have leadership knowledge.

When you play sports at a high-level, those coaches will give you very strong negative feedback.  I know that they need it.  It is not for the faint hearted.  Join the voyage of discovery.  Some may like it, others may not.  Work at what you "can't do!"  You cannot lead by only leading from your strengths.  Focus on your strengths, delegate or hire people to handle what you aren't good at-that will NEVER MAKE ANYONE AN EXPERT.  We have to make people work on their weaknesses and what they cannot do. Have to be driven to become better than you are.  Becoming the expert is not about happiness. 

Feedback is an important part of becoming an expert:
Lowest scoring item on LPI: #16 I ask for feedback on how my actions affect other people's performance.

Leadership is in the moment.  Michele Goins, "what makes a difference between being a leader is how you respond in the moment." 

3 minutes and 5 seconds is the amount of concentrated time on a day-to-day basis we have before we are interrupted.   Email, cell phone, people in the office.  Think about interventions that are 3 minutes in length.  Get the message out, affect other people, and move on.  3 minutes 5 seconds to influence someone.  You have a total of 12 minutes.  We need to frame these types of practice activities throughout the day.  This is not impossible.  How long is the "I have a Dream" speech?  Not the whole thing, but the "I have a Dream" part?  5 minutes.  We can greatly influence people in a short period of time.

Small opportunities everyday to influence, coach better, listen better, say thank you more often. This can all be done in 3 minutes, 5 seconds. 

--posted by Deb Nasitka

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