The Art Of Deliberate Practice – Part 2

March 29, 2018

deliberate practice

In my last blog, The Art of Deliberate Practice, I talked about discipline in business. I made several comparisons between sports people improving their performance through deliberate practice and how that would translate into a business environment. I feel this comparison is so powerful that I have put together another blog making the same type of comparisons, but this time I’ve used a different article. Again I have laid the comparison out in a table for easier reading. You will see some overlap with my comments in the previous blog. I make no apologies for that. These are important messages and need time and repetition to sink in.

Sports TeamBusiness Meaning
Coach Influence The article makes the point that a coach can have a beneficial effect on performance – always being there to bring focus and stimulate the feedback loop. There is a role in business for coaches. These could be internal or external. I have seen both types work well. Having an internal business coach is usually done through the management structure, where a manager will provide coaching advice and support to members of their team. For managers to adopt coaching roles it can be a challenge and usually needs some training and support for the manager. So there is a need for time and effort to create a coaching culture in the business with the reward coming through in increased business performance.
Feedback Sport usually provides a fairly immediate feedback loop. Was the shot on target? It’s a yes or no answer in a split second. Activities in business do not always provide that speed of feedback. A more traditional marketing campaign may take months to show results and equally a pay-per-click campaign will provide feedback at a speed that feels comparatively instantaneous. The message to take away is that having feedback loops on important tasks or activities will help performance.
Goals In Context An interesting point here. If you can see the benefit of applying discipline in achieving your sporting goals, then you can more easily transfer that mindset of discipline to other goals. In a business context it makes sense that a process that follows a disciplined approach to achieving a goal, could be copied to other processes.
Relevant Motivation The sports application of relevant motivation is closely tied into the immediacy of feedback. Business feedback isn’t always immediate, although in many businesses I see, the feedback loop could be significantly improved.  Where feedback is not so immediate there is always the option to focus on the bigger picture for the motivation – does the task I am about to do support the business goal…?


Whilst there are many books and articles about training, practice, motivation and goal setting in sport, my two recent blogs are probably enough to make the point. Applying deliberate practice to a task or process will improve business performance. Whether it’s reducing the reject rate in a manufacturing process, or the time it takes to service a machine etc. just keep practicing!

If you want to read more about discipline in business, download my free eBook!