The Art Of Deliberate Practice

March 13, 2018

team goals

In my eBook I talk about discipline in outstanding organisations being a deliberate practice repeatedly performed. So, this means planning, having standard approaches to doing things, learning from mistakes and improving how things get done.  I’m a sports fan, especially rugby and athletics. In both those sports we have seen the growth in professionalism, everybody having coaches, the development of incremental improvements, sports psychologists, etc. I bumped in to this article that talks about the art of deliberate practice and the advice it gives to sports people is spot on for business people too – with the following interpretations:

Sports TermsBusiness Meaning
RepetitionKeep working to the same standard methods which means everybody in the business should be following the same procedures and steps. Help people understand the method and how it helps produce good products or a great service.
StretchingNo, it’s not about stretching muscles. It’s about stretching your abilities, pushing your boundaries. In a business context this could be reducing the production cycle time or reducing an error rate.
ConcentrateUse goal setting.  Routines actually trigger words or actions that let you and the business focus on what is important. You will see professional tennis players like Rafael Nadal, follow a routine before each serve. It’s very habitual and perhaps the player is no longer aware of the detail of the routine. What it seems to do is create a focus of the important task of serving the ball. In business, having clear goals shared by all involved in making them happen is going to increase the chances of that goal being achieved significantly. 
FeedbackGetting specific feedback on the outcome of the deliberate repetitive practice is critical to becoming a better sports person. It’s the same in business. Once you have a standard method to do something, then use the feedback to improve and reduce the variation in output. That usually requires measurement of some sort plus a technique to convert the feedback into a change that in itself can be measured,
Train Don’t WatchWatching or reading about top performers is helpful but converting that learning into action is better. As a business, be prepared to learn from other businesses or industries. Try out new ways of doing things, don’t just talk about it.


The article concludes that feedback and concentration are the key essentials to deliberate practice. I can’t argue with that. It’s the same in business: Focus, focus, focus, be disciplined and get feedback which in turn will help your business to be more successful and profitable. 

Download my free eBook which talks about discipline in more detail and shows you how to create those standard methods of doing things.