Eric Jacobson

Book Review: Practice Perfect

In Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Education, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Management, Setting Goals, Team Building on October 23, 2012 at 9:06 pm

42 Rules For Getting Better At Getting Better is the sub-title of the new book, Practice Perfect.

This is an interesting book because it is co-authored by three teachers and clearly it’s a book for and about teachers.

But, as the authors remind us, as leaders, we are also teachers.  And, that’s why Practice Perfect is a valuable read for everyone who wants to help their employees grow and excel through practice.

And, although there’s a handy three-page summary of the 42 rules toward the end of the book, take the time to read about each rule covered in the chapters:

  • Rethinking Practice
  • How To Practice
  • Using Modeling
  • Feedback
  • Culture of Practice
  • Post-Practice: Making New Skills Stick

Key lessons and takeaways for me from the book include the following tips for providing effective feedback when working with someone who is practicing a skill:

  • Correct instead of critique.
  • Ask participants to redo an action differently or better rather than just telling them whether or how it could have been different.
  • Focus on the solution rather than the problem.
  • Give feedback right away, even if it’s imperfect.
  • Remember that a simple and small change, implemented the right away, can be more effective than a complex rewiring of a skill.

Additional advice from the authors is that:

  • The more consistently you give and get feedback, the more normal it is.
  • What people do right is as important in practice as what they do wrong.
  • Coaching during a game/exercise can be helpful, but teaching during a game/exercise is distracting and counterproductive.

Practice Perfect‘s authors are Doug Lemov, Katie Yezzi and Erica Woolway.  Lemov’s previous book is Teach Like a Champion.

Finally, the book is packed with stories of practice masters like Coach John Wooden, surgeon Atul Gawande, and basketball star Michael Jordan.

Thanks to the book publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.

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