G.R.I.T. The Dirty Little Four Letter Word That Predicts Success | Turnaround Tuesdays with Mark Faust


Angela Lee Duckworth, Ph.D., is featured in a popular Ted Talk wherein she reports her findings around a quality that is one of your greatest determining factors to success. It is a four-letter character trait that John Wayne popularized in a classic movie: “Grit.”

Grit is defined as: “Perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”

On a scale of 1 to 100 how would you rate your passion and determination to accomplish your long-term goals? How would you rate your overall organization’s passion and determination to accomplish long-term goals? These are your Grit Ratings, and if you’re like a typical leader, your Grit Rating as a leader is likely higher than your organization’s. This is where you have a dissonance that, if corrected, can improve your organization’s performance.


Here is how GRIT is used as an Acronym.

G — Goal Clarity. First you will want to start with an evaluation of the factors around your organization’s “long-term goals.” What are they, how clear are they, and are they such that they are inspiring passion? In my surveying of employees, I find it rare that the organization’s long-term goals are understood at all, let alone inspiring the team. Most people guess the long-term goal to be something like making as much money as possible, which is both ineffective and uninspiring. This brings us to the next challenge, how do we inspire the troops?


R — Raison d’etre. This is the most important reason or higher purpose for something’s existence. Drucker would say the purpose of business is to “create a customer” (not to make a profit, which is just an output and requirement). But take this point a step further for your business and ask, “What is the most inspiring reason for our being in Existence?”

The inside leadership qualities have to do with displaying and building character. This is what is the source of a corporate culture, the character you build, expect and inspire in others. The outside leadership qualities have to do with the business choices you make as a leader.

Define a raison d’etre that will inspire ALL of your stakeholders, customers included, and not just ownership. This point of inspiration found in any valid raison d’etre will be the source for fueling the passion that is a key requirement for having grit engrained into the character of your people and the culture throughout your team. As one farmer told me, “better to be a race horse than an ass.”


I — Innovativeness. In all progress toward a worthy goal there will be challenges. True grit doesn’t just keep persistently banging its head against a wall. It finds a creative way through or around the wall. Inspire and reward innovativeness. Most of all, you must insist that all parts of your enterprise set innovation objectives. Ideally many of your innovation objectives will be around the top constraints toward reaching the long-term goal. Insisting on innovativeness will instill greater and greater levels of grit and improve performance.

Another aspect of innovation and grit is having a growth mindset. You can foster this by showing how the ability to learn is not fixed. Teaching your people how the brain is elastic and grows with success as well as failure has been proven to literally improve people’s mindset. When people are taught that their brain can improve with both success and failure, they tend to become grittier.


T — Toughness, Tenacity and Tirelessness. To improve resolve in your organization, you need to point out those who exemplify the quality. I’ve seen clients of mine get a lot of mileage out of giving away a monthly tenacity award. Pointing out avatars of toughness inspires a change throughout the culture, and you can see the impact because what gets recognized is what gets results.

Use the above tools for GRIT and watch your organization grow and prosper.


About Mark Faust

Each Tuesday, turnaround consultant Mark Faust will be sharing his expertise on how to turn around your small business. His blogs will be filled with practical insights and basic turnaround strategies designed to guide you through crisis leadership and change management.  You'll be able to tap into tips on everything from profitability issues, business continuity plans and pandemic pivots to operational processes, marketing and customers additional value.

As one of the companies he helped grow, we know first hand how inspiring his leadership is and just how well it works! Mark has also agreed to make his best-selling book ‘Growth or Bust’ available, free of charge, to any small business to help them create  their own effective turnaround plan. We’ll be sharing that with you soon.

You can learn more about Mark and his company, Echelon Management, by clicking here.


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Topics: small business owners, growing pains, innovation, risk management, leadership development, transformation, change management, Mark Faust, growth strategies, crisis management, business continuity, grow your business, business insights, strategy and growth, crisis leadership, Echelon Management International, effective corporate turnaround, turnaround plan, basic turnaround strategies, small business turnaround strategies, turnaround mindset, cost reduction, goals, tenacity

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