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TUESDAY DECEMBER 11, 2012                                                  A WEEKLY E-NEWSLETTER COMPILED BY SAM GEIST


I've many times remarked that 90% of what we learn is outside our area of expertise. Last week my daughter and son-in-law attended a lecture given by Angela Lee Duckworth PhD, who is currently an assistant professor, department of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. (She has as well many other credentials). 


Her talk was about the value of "grit" in children and how it is a more predictable indicator of success than IQ and talent. After Rebecca related some of the details of her talk, I thought how valuable grit is in today's workplace. 


How beneficial it would be to find an employee with grit, someone who is able to put together an active plan, adjust it as needed, be ready to take on the difficult tasks that arise in every job and work through them to completion. And work this way on an ongoing basis.

No, grit doesn't come easy. It takes years to develop (remember Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hours to gain competency). But it can be done! Imagine the power of an organization that runs on grit.


"True Grit is more than a John Wayne movie and more valuable too." 
--Sam Geist

I've included a couple of links to read more about the value of grit. The first link also has its own link to Professor Duckworth's Grit Scale test you can take.


Earlier this month a study was released that
highlighted employees' insights and perspectives on work, engagement and the top skills to grow careers.

Employees' perceived importance of job skills to employers

  • 34% - Relevant on-the-job experience 
  • 31% - Work ethic
  • 28% - Years of experience in the field
  • 19% - Knowledge of the industry
  • 19% - Education
  • 18% - Soft skills (communications, collaboration, teamwork skills)    
  • 17% - Proven mastery of hard skills required for the job
  • 10% - Right cultural fit for the company/office
  • 7%   - Being currently employed 
  • 4%   - Other 

Employees' impressions of importance of skills to growing their careers

  •  46% - Flexibility/adaptability
  • 37% - Computer/technology
  • 34% - Leadership 
  • 32% - Collaboration and teamwork
  • 25% - Interpersonal communications
  • 22% - Time management
  • 11% - Financial/business analysis
  • 8%   - Foreign language
  • 5%   - Environmental practices
  • 6%   - None of these   

--Randstad Engagement Index 



For marketers, demographics are an important tool in doing business effectively.  A recent population survey shows that American households are getting smaller -- and headed by older adults. 
  • The average population per household now stands at 2.55, down from 3.67 in 1948.

  • Much of that decline is attributable to the growth in 1-person households, which have almost quintupled in number from 1960,  and now account for 27% of all households.

  • More than half of householders 75 and older live alone as of this year. 

    •  That compares to less than one-quarter of householders less than 30 years old.

  • Data shows that the percentage of households headed by adults aged 75 and older has grown from 6% in 1960 to 10% this year.
    • Households headed by 30 to 44 year-olds has plummeted from a peak of 34% in 1990 to just 26% this year. (Attributed to the aging of the Baby Boomers).
    • 39% of households are headed by adults aged 45-64.
  • There are now 7.8 million couples living together without being married, more than double the 2.9 million from 1996.
  • Married households make up 49% of all households, down from 71% in 1970.
  • The proportion of households headed by white non-Hispanic adults stands at 69% this year, down 8% from 75% in 2000.
  • 52% of married couples have both husband and wife in the labor force. That's down from 56% in 2000.
  • The percentage of stay-at-home parents who are fathers has grown from 1.6% in 1994 (76,000) to 3.6% this year (189,000). Among married-couple parents with children younger than 15, the percentage with stay-at-home mothers is estimated to be 24%.
  • 85% of single-race Asian children live with 2 parents (whether married or not). That proportion falls to 77% among single-race white non-Hispanic children, 66% of Hispanic children, and 38% of single-race black children.

--Marketing Charts/Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey, US Census Bureau



"When people talk, listen completely."

--Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

American novelist

and short-story writer

"In a fast-moving, competitive world, being able to learn new skills is one of the keys to success. It's not enough to be smart - you need to always be getting smarter."

--Heidi Grant Halvorson,

Motivational psychologist and Author of "Nine Things

Successful People Do Differently"


For information related to this quote see THE STATS below.


"I am particularly interested in the subjective experience of exerting self-control and grit -- and conscious strategies which facilitate adaptive behavior in the face of temptation, frustration, and distraction."   

--Angela Lee Duckworth, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

For more on Professor Duckworth and her research on "grit" see Marketplace Lessons. 


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screen shot

here for a preview of

"Doing More With
What You've Got"
A New Program on Managing in
Challenging Times

We'd love to hear from you.
Please email your
comments or suggestions to
[email protected]


An important read about what employee turnover really costs.
Part 2 -

Listen to this interesting interview, a podcast
with Gautam Mukunda, Harvard Business School assistant professor and author of Indispensable: When Leaders Really Matter.
Connect with Sam Geist

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From "QuickBites," by Sam Geist.  (800) 567-1861 

Sam Geist lectures, facilitates workshops and conducts training seminars on sales & marketing, the changing marketplace, leadership, differentiation, customer service and staff motivation.  His three books, "Why Should Someone Do Business With You... Rather Than Someone Else?" "Would You Work for You?" and "Execute... or Be Executed" are available in bookstores everywhere, published by Addington & Wentworth Inc.