"The key factor separating geniuses from the merely accomplished is not a divine spark. It's not I.Q., a generally bad predictor of success, even in realms like chess. Instead, it's deliberate practice. Top performers spend more hours (many more hours) rigorously practicing their craft."
-- New York Times columnist David Brooks in an Op-Ed today about how genius has more to do with practice than innate gifts. Brooks quotes examples from two new books that make this assertion -- and one book happens to be Geoff Colvin's Talent is Overrated. Colvin, a Fortune senior editor at large who co-wrote with me a story about Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) extraordinary success in the recent Fortune 500 issue, noted in a guest post on Postcards that difficult times are great opportunities to practice to achieve greatness. He wrote: "Such CEOs as A.G. Lafley of P&G (PG) and Jeff Immelt of GE (GE) have told me that being forced to manage through crises earlier in their careers built their abilities so much that it was critical to their becoming CEOs—and that, in fact, they wouldn't have become CEOs otherwise." What are you practicing this weekend? --Jessica Shambora
I was in California this past week and I'm happy to report that the Golden State did not fall into the Pacific Ocean.
It seemed it might, as inches of rain drenched Silicon Valley and the state government fought off insolvency. What a disaster California is right now, even after the legislature yesterday approved a plan to close a $42 billion budget deficit and end the "fiscal emergency" that the action-hero MOREPatricia Sellers - Feb 20, 2009 1:51 PM ET
I'll say it again: Execution! It's always been the No. 1 reason why CEOs fail, as my colleague Geoff Colvin and management guru Ram Charan have preached over the past decade. But particularly right now, as growth is so hard to come by and countless bosses are blowing it, there's a rising appreciation of this most critical thing.
At least among the really smart bosses. I noticed it at last week's MOREPatricia Sellers - Dec 18, 2008 2:02 PM ET
"The 10,000-hours rule says that if you look at any kind of cognitively complex field, from playing chess to being a neurosurgeon, we see this incredibly consistent pattern that you cannot be good at that unless you practice for 10,000 hours, which is roughly 10 years, if you think about four hours a day."
-- Malcolm Gladwell, from a Q&A with Fortune writer Jennifer Reingold in the current issue. In Gladwell's MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Nov 17, 2008 7:19 PM ET
"The important thing that we're focused on is the "open for business" message. A lot is going on that's impacting confidence, but business is happening, and consumers need to realize that credit is still available."
--Barbara Desoer, Bank of America's (BAC) mortgage chief, from "The Colvin Interview" in the current issue of Fortune. Desoer, who is No. 27 on Fortune's 2008 Most Powerful Women in business list, oversees the biggest collection MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Nov 11, 2008 6:15 PM ET
My Fortune colleague Geoff Colvin reminds us in his Guest Post that the best time to test and stretch your talent is during tough times. Ever since we published Geoff's piece on Postcards yesterday, I've been thinking about this a lot. Last night, at a Bank of America (BAC) dinner at Manhattan's Four Seasons restaurant to benefit the International Women's Media Foundation's Courage in Journalism Awards, I sat with a MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 21, 2008 12:28 PM ET
Everybody's talking about how to find opportunity in the current economic chaos, but here's an angle that I think is being overlooked: Times of crisis present genuinely great opportunities to develop leadership. Now I didn't say to demonstrate leadership; that opportunity is obvious. I'm talking about building leadership capabilities beyond what you or others in your organization possess now. I realize it's difficult to be happy about tough times, but MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 20, 2008 12:05 PM ET
"It was as if somebody handed us a different pair of glasses, and the whole world looked different."
-- Doug McMillon, CEO of Sam's Club (WMT), who is the subject of "The Colvin Interview" in the current issue of Fortune. McMillon explains how he developed a completely new perspective on sustainability when he realized it actually supported the company's mission of saving people money so they can live better. At 41, MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Oct 14, 2008 5:08 PM ET
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