Great performers respect the science of their craft. This becomes even more important when you are in a domain with “terminal consequences”. For pilots, astronauts, firefighters and others, you do not get second chances. Therefore, there is no patience for a supposedly talented individual to “wing it” and figure it out along the way. The margin for error is too small, and the price is too high. Because of this fact, they train differently. While they are free to be creative when the situation calls for it, personal preferences and doing things “their way” do not take the place of the science of the best way to succeed.
Even if you are not in an industry with terminal consequences, your results may be binary. You win or lose a business deal. Your client is found innocent or guilty. Your new product launch is a success or failure. Most of us work under these conditions. Therefore, we should learn from those whose consequences are more severe and develop our people in similar ways.
It is common to hear performers with decades of experience proclaim that as an expert, they can just go by gut feel and handle challenges as they come up. However, that is a very risky and potentially expensive endeavor. It is also an attitude that would make it so you would never get within 100 feet or a high performance machine like a spacecraft. If that is the case, perhaps you should think through how much you must respect the science of doing things the BEST way instead of YOUR way?
Listen to this edition of the HighPer 7 podcast to learn how the elite incessantly practice and refine their craft as opposed to relying on their gut.