Practice Principle #2: Break the Whole into Pieces

As discussed earlier, new behaviors are most effectively mastered when they are broken into their individual components. Once in the individual components, each piece can then be practiced slowly and repeatedly until that circuit has built up more bandwidth. An Olympic diver masters each chunk of the dive and then puts them together during the competition so that they flow together automatically. By mastering each piece separately and adding myelin to the corresponding neural circuit, the diver can begin a dive by activating the first skill circuit, which leads into the next, and the next.

Once a manager has a goal to practice, the next step is to break that behavior into its individual pieces. The earlier example on the behavior of resource allocation illustrates the steps that one can take to break it down into its individual components and then work to master each step. Mastery is then demonstrated when the manager can seamlessly weave together the individual elements of the behavior into its whole. To assist in the process, use a visual flow chart to plot the separate pieces and show the manager how each part fits into the sum of the behavior.

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