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Nancy Hardaway Research shows that hard work trumps talent!  A new book called GRIT, focuses on that combination of passion and willingness to work hard.  I know I've gotten grittier as the years go by.  Measure your grit in the self test link, and read about ways to help your staff (and your kids) develop grit.  

Culture of Talent:   Results matter, but how do we build a culture of people that expect to work for those results, regardless of setbacks?   Rewarding hard work rather than talent seems obvious, but we have a culture that prefers the gifts of the "natural."   
We have programs for the "gifted and talented."  I don't know any special programs for the "hardworkers."  I've often heard the quote "your boss doesn't care how hard you work, only whether you are good at what you are supposed to do."
I've heard the same message of natural talent about leadership.  "Good leaders are born that way."  "You can't teach someone to be a leader, they either are or they aren't."   Oh, come on!  In fact, great leaders are gritty.  They work hard to be great leaders.
Research on Grit:  We 
can teach GRIT, according to a new book of that name receiving a lot of press right now.  Author Angela Duckworth was repeatedly told by her father during her youth that she was "no genius."  Ironically, she subsequently earned her PhD and was awarded a MacArthur "genius" award in 2013 for her research into the unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance she calls grit. 
Her research has shown that high achievers from National Spelling Bee finalists to successful football coaches to top corporate CEO's to Green Berets all demonstrate this combination of passion and perseverance.   They recognize that success takes hard work, and that setbacks are part of success.
Developing Grit:  
My curiosity is how we develop grit in our organizations. 
I just read a memoir by a football player who was frequently told what a natural he was as he grew up.  Early and repeated success made him confident and even cocky.  Then when he got to the pros, he was cut.  It was such a blow it took him several years and a good coach to realize that what he needed was hard work, not resentment and bitterness.    He got the right feedback. 
I had agents when I owned a real estate brokerage that had early success because of a great market. So the message they learned was that the job was easy. When things weren't so easy some got frustrated, blaming the market.  Others listened and got to work!!!

Duckworth suggests helping others develop grit through a specific type of feedback that rewards overcoming obstacles and pursuing difficult goals.

Effort counts twice:  Of course, that's not to say that aptitude doesn't help.  But it all goes back to the theme that success comes from effort, not just talent.  In fact, Duckworth has a schematic in which effort counts twice:
Talent x Effort = Skill
Skill x Effort = Achievement
Feedback for Grit:
 Here are some phrases that Duckworth and others suggest will help reinforce development of grit, particularly perseverance, both in your staff and in your kids:
"That didn't work.  Let's talk about how you approached it and what might work better."
"This is hard.  Don't feel bad if you can't do it YET."
"I have high standards.  I'm holding you to them because I know we can reach them together."
Of course history offers us some famous language on grit:
Ben Franklin:  "There are no gains with no pains."  (Did you know he read and re-read favorite essays by other authors, dissecting them and rewriting them just to improve his own writing.)
Teddy Roosevelt "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena:... who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming... "
Culture of Grit:
 Which brings me to my own ideas for building a culture of grit, at work or at home.   Remember that grit is BOTH passion and perseverance.
  1. Support mistakes and allow failure, accompanying them with analysis and corrections. 
  2. Give feedback that supports hard work, and corrects with specific data. 
  3. Celebrate resilience and persistence - the surmounting of barriers to success.
  4. Explain why - understanding purpose gives work meaning and helps develop passion.
  5. Encourage exploration of interests;  e.g., assign projects to volunteers, give weekly time for doing work of choice within the company realm; and encourage your children to try new sports or hobbies but with the expectation that a true experience requires some commitment.
In This Issue
My book - The Awareness Paradigm
How four leaders and a team become more successful through learning skills of leadership.
Buy in paperback or e-book version on Amazon 

Duckworth offers a 10 question online test of grit, quick and easy and free:

True confessions:  I didn't come out very gritty, perhaps because I've done so many different things in my life.
Personal Update

Last issue I shared hard lessons on change I learned moving my home and office from New England to the southwest coast of Florida - lessons on loss, unexpected problems & delays, disorientation and exhaustion, the need for help and the length of time a true transition takes.  

In the last few months, we've made progress.  We've started to create a new "tribe" through dinners with neighbors, meetings with new colleagues and clients, and membership in local business organizations.  

I'm learning local "signposts." I'm able to find my way around (mostly) without Google Maps open on the dashboard, and I know where to get clothes cleaned and the dog groomed.  

We're spending more free time on fun than on house repairs.  We've bought a special recumbent bike my husband can ride with his Parkinson's, and I bought a kayak that's light enough to take out on my own.

That's not to say that the transition is complete or the setbacks are behind us.  

I still can't read the weather.  A month ago I left my house when it was just sprinkling and within a few miles it started to downpour. A few miles later, I turned into a parking lot and was caught in a flash flood. When I started to float - yes, float -  I called 911 and was rescued by firemen.  Though the door seals held and I got no water inside, my engine was totalled. The window I had opened to talk to the firemen wouldn't close.  I even made the news.  Click here and scroll down to see a video if you are completely sick of working and want a break. 

But no one was hurt,  the car is back in business though a bit gun shy in the rain, and our transition continues.
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