Talent is overrated. You know this. According to Angela Duckworth’s research, covered nicely in her first book titled Grit, talent is a starting point – nothing more. Her performance formula is as follows:
Talent X effort = skill.
Skill X effort = accomplishment.
This is another partial truth that’s good to sell books but not so good in the real world of work. What’s true is that effort counts twice. Effort multiplies your talent and effort multiplies your skill. As you approach mastery in whatever skill you’re building, the effort required for incremental gain goes up and the frequency for gains is elongated. Translation. Masters marry the mundane and keep working on domain specific expertise for hour after hour after hour. Most of us quit when we reach some comfortable performance plateau. Skills slowly diminish. Fact.
Here’s the nuance for building sustained accomplishment, regardless the work. Remember you can’t do it by yourself, you’ve got to increase collaborative effort. Translation. Masters do not work alone. Masters understand the new science – nobody is as smart as everybody. So, today’s masters expend effort working collaboratively with teammates, competitors, coaches, and any others that can multiply their performance. Together we improve, remember, is the BTL tag line because it’s true. Together we improve. This does not mean you don’t have to work hard on your own. You do. It’s just not enough. You also have to work well with others and have the humility to hear other ideas, criticisms, and critiques. And, the humility to give help too…
Talent is overrated. Collaboration is underrated. The best individuals learn from teammates and teach ’em too. Today, during a couple team practices with some krazy Kansans we built some skill by collaborating. We expended effort individually and collectively. Good.
So, friend, the recipe for you improving your performance is around taking whatever talent you have and putting it to work. This requires effort. And, you gotta keep building skill once you accomplish some level of competence. Skill growth still requires effort. And, if you’re aimed at mastery, you’ve got to expend effort collaborating with colleagues. Nobody is as smart as everybody. Together we improve. Do you believe this? Do your behaviors reflect this? Slow down and reflect, friend. Slow down and reflect…