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As students of business, we are all intrigued by the concept of what makes a truly great leader, and what denotes success?
There are those who inspire loyalty, hard work and confidence almost instinctively from their reports, while others of a similar aptitude and charisma don't appear to achieve the same fidelity. Why do some people appear to have reached their success easily? It is a timeless question, and there’s no simple answer.
This article looks an individual’s ability to hone their skills and career, and create their own resilience, or “bouncebackability” from the most challenging of scenarios.
Malcolm Gladwell, a well-known journalist for The Washington Post and The New Yorker, tackled the question in his book “Outliers: The Story of Success”. He presented the notion that any skill could be mastered to near on “genius” level if the individual practised it for 10,000 hours.
I guess his point was that hard work truly does pay off. However, ultimately, he went onto explain that circumstances had a key role to play in getting a person to a position whereby they had both the means and desire to devote their full time to just one skill.
He takes famous Canadian hockey players as an example, saying that those born early on in the year have a significant advantage of getting into elite programs to train them for the major leagues, called the NHL:
It's a beautiful example of a self-fulfilling prophecy. In Canada, the eligibility cut-off for age-class hockey programs is January 1st.
Canada also takes hockey really seriously, so coaches start streaming the best hockey players into elite programs, where they practice more and play more games and get better coaching, as early as 8 or 9.
But who tends to be the "best" player at age 8 or 9?
The oldest, of course – the kids born nearest the cut-off date, who can be as much as
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Amy leads the thought leadership and content strategy for LexisNexis UK. Her work appears in marketing campaigns, in industry press and in legal trade magazines. She is an established creative writer and researcher, with her articles appearing in national publications, such as City A.M. and Financial IT. She is also one of the writers and digital editors of LexisNexis' insights blogs including the Future of Law, and the In-house blog.
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