A Successful Team needs Cohesive Personalities

A useful way to think about teams with the right mix of skills and personalities is to consider the two roles every person plays in a working group: a functional role, based on their formal position and technical skill, and a psychological role, based on the kind of person they are. Too often, organizations focus merely on the functional role and hope that good team performance somehow follows. This is why even the most expensive professional sports teams often fail to perform according to the individual talents of each player: There is no psychological synergy. A more effective approach focuses as much on people’s personalities as on their skills.

Dave Winsborough and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic writing in Harvard Business Review  

Your Gift to the World

If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.

You shame the angels who watch over you and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.

Creative work is not a selfish act of a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.

Steven Pressfield, The Art of War


Top performers secret: They chunk it

The idea that skill-which is graceful, fluid, and seemingly effortless--should be created by the nested accumulation of small, discrete circuits seems counterintuitive. But a massive body of scientific research shows that this is precisely the way skills are built--and not just for cognitive pursuits like chess.

Physical acts are also built of chunks. When a gymnast learns a floor routine, he assemblies via a series of chunks, which in turn are made up of other chunks. He’s grouped a series of muscle movements together in exactly the same way you grouped a series of letters together to form a Everest. The fluency happens when the gymnast repeats the movements often enough that he knows how to process those chunks as one big chunk, the same way that you process the above sentence.

From below, top performers look incomprehensibly superior, and see if they’ve leaped in a single bound across a huge chasm. They aren't nearly as different from ordinary performers  as they seem. What separates these two levels is not innate superpower but a slowly accrued act  of construction and organization: the building of a scaffolding, bolt by bolt  and circuit by circuit.

Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code