Practice: How entrepreneurs acquire the capacity to excel
One of my favorite papers of the year.” It’s not that talent, luck, or experience is irrelevant, but the impact of those things can be overshadowed by hard work.”
Abstract (Via Robert Baron)
Most new ventures fail, but a few prosper and attain rapid growth. Many factors contribute to such outcomes, but we propose that among these are mechanisms identified by cognitive science research on the origins of expert performance. Literature on this topic indicates that across many fields (e.g., medicine, science, sports, music), outstanding performance derives largely from participation in intense, prolonged, and highly focused efforts to improve current performance – a process known as deliberate practice. By comparison, mere experience in a field and individual talent play smaller roles in generating expert performance. Additional evidence indicates that participation in deliberate practice does not simply expand domain-specific knowledge and skills; it also generates actual enhancements to basic cognitive resources (e.g., memory, perception, metacognition). We suggest that to the extent entrepreneurs acquire enhanced cognitive resources through current or past deliberate practice, their capacity to perform tasks related to new venture success (e.g., accurate identification and evaluation of business opportunities) is enhanced and, hence, the performance of their new ventures, too, is augmented. Specific ways in which entrepreneurs can gain enhanced cognitive resources are described, and implications for entrepreneurship theory and practice are considered.
Important Findings (Via Phys Org)
Entrepreneurs can acquire new capacities that can assist them in starting or running a new venture, or allow them to adapt to unforeseen circumstances, such as a drop in the economy, or PR crisis. These capacities include an ability to zero in on the most important information in a given situation, and more easily access valuable information stored in the long-term memory, or by increasing the capacity of short-term working memory. These factors also help secure a positive outcome: preparation, repetition, self-observation, self-reflection, and continuous feedback on results. These efforts lead to a healthy self-efficacy, or an individual’s confidence in their ability and what is known as mature intuition.
Fortunately, the authors point out, the enhanced cognitive capacities that contribute to expertise in one domain can transfer to another. Therefore, entrepreneurs who have acquired the capacity to perform at expert levels in sports, music, art, or science, can transfer these skills and capacities to their business goals. Baron explains, “Our study shows that most successes belong not to those who are gifted, experienced, or lucky—but rather to those who are willing to work hard, long, and diligently to attain it. It’s not that talent, luck, or experience is irrelevant, but the impact of those things can be overshadowed by hard work.”