In the 1969 western True Grit, Mattie Ross (Kim Darby) hires U.S. Marshall Rooster J. Cogburn (John Wayne) to track down her father’s killer. Ross travels to Fort Smith Arkansas to hire Cogburn because she’s heard he has “true grit”. If you’ve seen the movie, or the remake, you know that Mattie Ross has a substantial dose of “true grit” as well.
In her bestselling book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth describes success in high school students. The most successful were not those with the highest IQs, the most social intelligence or the best looking. The most successful had Grit.
Duckworth says, “Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Grit is passion, perseverance and stamina in working toward long term and future goals. Grit is working hard, being willing to fail or be wrong, but starting over again with lessons learned.
Even if at the top of their game, those with grit are always striving to improve. They’re in love with what they do.
It stands to reason that employees with grit would be an asset to an organization, but how do you find them?
- As you review resumes and track records look for multi-year commitments, evidence of advancement and achievement (as opposed to frequent lateral moves)
- When checking references, listen for evidence that candidates have bounced back from failure, demonstrated flexibility in dealing with unexpected obstacles and sustained a habit of self-improvement
- Most of all, look for signs that people are driven by a purpose bigger than themselves, one that resonates with the mission of your organization
Want to compare your “grit” to that of more than 5,000 American adults? Go to the author’s website and take her assessment: www.angeladuckworth.com/grit-scale.
To learn more about Duckworth’s work, check out her [six-minute] TED Talk.
True grit helps our organizations thrive.
The road is easier together,