I often use sports analogies in my writing and teaching, and an article by Tony Schwartz of The Energy Project – fittingly titled The 6 Keys To Being Awesome At Everything – caught my eye as both a tennis player and a CEO veteran. Because performance in sports is so easily measured, we have made great progress in understanding how to drive performance through practice. As Tony relates, Anders Ericsson, the top researcher in high performance, has found that individuals can greatly improve their performance with “deliberate practice.” The concept of deliberate practice describes the intense effort required to reach the highest levels of any human endeavor – around 10,000 hours.
Knowing this need for practice, it is always surprising to me how most CEOs spend almost no time trying to improve their skills as CEO. They seem to feel that with the title they have reached a level where improvement is no longer necessary. I believe the CEO role is the most challenging position in any business, requiring constant learning and improvement to reach even moderate levels of performance.
When did you last take time to perform deliberate practice as CEO?