What Makes the Prodigy Method Different?

New Understanding About Learning

In the last 15 years, new research has produced an explosion of understanding on how people build skills and reach the highest levels of performance -- and, why most of us never come close to achieving the potential that is easily within our grasp. 

We now know that all expertise -- from baseball to brain surgery – comes from physical changes in the structure and functions of the brain. The study of world-class performers has shown that it is not some magical alchemy of innate talent and pathological drive that creates a champion – it’s the way they learn and train. When development activities are structured to work with the way the brain changes, learning is faster and people realize more of their full potential.   In all areas studied, people who became world class had four things in common: 

  • Deliberate practice
  • Support
  • Hard Work
  • Ability

At first glance, the list looks obvious - practice, get support from other people, work hard and have some ability. But these four simple things are very different from how we typically think of them

Challenges to  Old Ways of Thinking

The research calls into question many of our long-held assumptions about learning and leader development.

  • Using a skill on the job is not the same as practicing a skill
  • Experience is not the best development method
  • Mentors are not the most important kind of support
  • Leadership is not a natural ability

Our current approach to leadership development is not good enough. Leaders are not satisfied with the development options available to them, HR and talent management professionals are swamped trying to keep up with fast changing and growing needs, and executives are frustrated at the limitations ineffective leadership places on their organizations.  


The Prodigy Method

We have translated groundbreaking research into ten practical principles that anyone can use to build skills faster and easier.

  1. Break it down
  2. Start where you are
  3. Start early
  4. Make learning self-motivating
  5. Study with expert teachers
  6. Enlist multiple sources of support
  7. Use deliberate practice drills
  8. Set execution goals for practice
  9. Build practice into regular activities
  10. Learn from success

Slight Changes Make Big Differences

When you look at leader development through the lens of our new understanding about learning you can see that just a few changes can make a big difference in the speed and effectiveness of development -- for individuals and for organizations.

We have isolated the ‘active ingredients’ in learning and anyone can use the training methods of prodigies to accelerate their learning and reach their highest potential.