I have just finished Malcolm Gladwell’s newest book Outliers. An easy read and absolutely fascinating. From a coaching perspective there were all kinds of tid bits in the book that I will trot out for use with clients moving forward. The research about the effect of culture on how employees communicate with each other is riveting and I will comment on that further in future blogs.
One fact that I will not need with clients but may be useful with my kids is the evidence that explains why Asian children do so well in school in general and in math specifically. The Asian culture was based for many hundreds of years on rice cultivation which is back breaking work that also requires constant planning, problem solving and vigilance. Carelessness reduces yield. Because rice cultivation is so difficult landlords asked for a fixed rent price on land – therefore farmers got to keep anything they produced over their rent payment. Essentially Rice cultivating cultures produce people who are accustomed to being in charge of their own success by working brutally hard. Who knew?
When I met Scott Blanchard and we started Coaching.com he used to quote his Dad, Ken Blanchard: “To be successful you only have to work ½ a day – the first 12 hours or the second twelve hours”. We laughed but it is true that putting in the hours is a large part of success. The key is to make sure that your hard work is accomplishing something concrete that will help you achieve your goal.
We talk a lot about working smarter not harder – the evidence suggests that the key is to do both.