Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Oprah Winfrey All Use the 5-Hour Rule

This article was written by Michael Simmons, co-founder of Empact, with Ian Chew and Shizuka Ebata; and posted on 

In the article “Malcolm Gladwell Got Us Wrong,” the researchers behind the 10,000-Hour Rule set the record straight: Different fields require different amounts of deliberate practice in order for someone to become world-class.

If 10,000 hours isn’t an absolute rule that applies across fields, what does it really take to become world class in the world of work?

Over the past year, I’ve explored the personal histories of many widely admired business leaders, including Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Mark Zuckerberg, in order to understand how they apply the principles of deliberate practice.

What I’ve done does not qualify as an academic study, but it does reveal a surprising pattern.

Many of these leaders, despite being extremely busy, have set aside at least an hour a day (or five hours a week) over their entire career for activities that could be classified as deliberate practice or learning.

I call this phenomenon the five-hour rule.

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Women In the C-Suite Lagging Male Counterparts

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media.

Across the C-Suite, Less Than a Quarter of Top Leaders Are Women. A New Study Has Found That Across All of the C-Suite Positions, the Most Senior Post Is Held By the Smallest Percentage of Women. And Only Five Percent Serve As CEO. Let’s Dig Into the Latest Report From Korn Ferry.

The percentage of women in most C-suite positions is dramatically lower than their male counterparts, according to a new look at data of U.S. companies by Korn Ferry.

The analysis found that across the most prominent C-suite titles (chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief information officer, chief marketing officer, and chief human resources officer) and several industries (consumer, energy, financial, life sciences, industrial and technology) an average of less than one quarter (24 percent) of the top leaders are women.

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Purpose Point of View

Article by Janet Feldman, Managing Principal for Korn Ferry, for the Expert Contributors’ Blog at

No matter which way you turn, the focus on ‘purpose’ is everywhere. Whether it’s Mark Zuckerberg joining Bill Gates and Warren Buffet in a Giving Pledge, the six biggest global communications firms putting differences aside in a U.N. Common Ground Initiative pledging to eliminate poverty worldwide, to the rise of socially conscious companies embedding sustainability in all processes, purpose has broken the sound barrier among the business and popular media, forward-thinking magazines and business school curricula.

However, to mistakenly think purpose is something pursued only by socially conscious individuals and organizations or ‘in addition to our day job’ is to miss the point entirely. Purpose is that simple, yet powerful, human impulse to improve the lives of others or make a difference in the world. Purpose catalyzes behaviors from simple acts of service to a focus on professional excellence. It drives large efforts from spearheading a movement to bringing a game-changing product or technology to market. It animates us as people and fuels organizational innovation, value creation, and growth. Whether or not they understand the forces driving it, the smartest organizations are putting purpose at the top of their agendas—and those that ignore it, do so at their peril.

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The Big Why Question

The phone rings at 2 a.m., and shaking both fear and fog out of my head, I am surprised by the calm voice: It’s a caller “from the Capitol in Washington, DC.” Apparently, there is some concern about the nominating process for the next president of the United States. Peppering me with questions, the voice inquires if Korn Ferry could help. “You have the largest executive database in the world, right? You have done global research on the key attributes, competencies, and characteristics of the best, world-class leaders? You could develop a comprehensive, valid leadership model for president, locate the best talent, assess them, and develop them as necessary, correct?”

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Living on Purpose

Written by Jim Hoar, Senior Consultant for Leadership Development at Target Corporation, on his blog.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of working with Kevin Cashman, who is a Senior Partner at Korn Ferry International. Kevin is a passionate executive coach, teacher, and developer of senior leaders. We were privileged to have Kevin teaching a workshop to a group of Target senior leaders.

A passion of Kevin’s is encouraging others to pause and reflect on one’s purpose as a leader. The call to action is simple but profound: Get clear about your purpose so you do not confuse it with performance. Purpose should always drive performance. If you let performance become your purpose, the results are not sustainable and you (and your organization) become lost.

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Korn Ferry Executive Survey: Where There’s Purpose, There’s Profit

In a global survey released today by Korn Ferry, the preeminent global people and organizational advisory firm, the vast majority of executive respondents indicated that a focus on both personal and organizational purpose is key to productivity and financial success.

More than two-thirds of respondents (70 percent) agreed to a great extent that there is a long-term financial benefit to companies that make strong commitments to purpose-driven leadership.
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Executives Indicate Purpose Is Important But Most Stand Pat

Article by Dan Pontefract via

Since 2012, I have been studying, researching and writing about the concept of purpose. Purpose in one’s life, purpose in one’s role at work … and purpose in the organization itself.

There is something fundamentally wrong in our society.

People yearn for a sense of purpose in their lives. Life is short. It matters to many of us–if not all of us–that we make the best of our short time on this planet. But many of us have to work in an organization to help fuel that sense of purpose. It takes money (our paychecks) in which to help achieve some of those purpose-driven, personal goals of ours.

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Introducing What’s Working: Purpose + Profit

By Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief at The Huffington Post Media Group.

The shift in the way an increasing number of businesses see their role in the world has been one of the most exciting, promising and desperately needed developments of the past few years. More and more companies are moving beyond the obsession with quarterly earnings and short-term gain toward a very different vision. As Unilever CEO Paul Polman has said, “Business must make a bigger difference to global challenges by leveraging its scale, influence, expertise and resources to drive transformational change at a systemic level.” A sense of purpose has come to be seen, rightly, as a value that not only has a place in business but is essential to long-term success.

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Doing Well By Doing Good: An Interview with Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever

A recent report stated 62 percent of surveyed millennials “only want to work for an organization that delivers social and environmental impacts.” In an interview with the Guardian, you mentioned millennials “…don’t want to work for banks.” Can you tell us more about the importance of purpose in the corporate world?

Increasingly millennials want to work for companies where they can make a difference, positively influence others and ultimately leave this world in a better place than they found it. That’s a life with purpose.

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What makes sales teams sizzle? Better leaders.

In their rush to find leaders to manage their sales forces, too many companies reflexively focus on top sales performers. It may make sense on paper, but it’s a fundamental talent error that undercuts salespeople’s effectiveness.

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