I was writing an entry to post this week, but instead of that entry I decided to respond to the comment of John Antonios, since I found it quite interesting. John is a former student of mine in Grenoble, and the kind of student I appreciate very much, since he is constantly reflecting about himself, the world, and his place in it. He was always good at making connections between his experience and the topics we discussed in class.
In fact, I remember discussing with John about natural talent and the great debate about leaders, ‘born or made’. It is gratifying to see that his experience has changed his thinking about ‘natural’ leaders. Just never stop reflecting, John!
As John suggests in his comment, of course everyone with a ‘gift’ does not become a leader in his chosen field. Though I am not by any means an expert about golf, I am reasonably sure that many others were born with natural talent similar to that of Tiger Woods. They do not ‘get there’ as golfers because they do not have the environment (the father, the teachers, the feedback, or the access) that Tiger had. And, perhaps most important, others with similar talent simply did not develop the determination, the will to practice, or the ability to learn from experience that Tiger developed from a young age.
It is that will to practice, as well as the environment and the teaching, that leads to excellence in any field.
I also enjoyed the quotation John cited from Robin Sharma, and we can connect his concept directly to our vision of leadership training. For Sharma, there is a gap between knowledge and results. In Sharma’s world, power and competitive advantage come not only from knowledge or talent, but they are the direct result of the decisive action that must necessarily accompany this knowledge or talent. In our world of leadership training and coaching, leadership talent will only translate into leadership success if reflection and deliberate practice become part of the trainee’s ongoing routine.