Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Live from FEI 2013: Will Power: Grit, Self-Control, and Achievement

True Grit: Why Effort is as Important as Talent

What do you need for true grit? Two things: 1) A sustained, consistent interest over a long period of time and 2) the ability to overcome adversity.

While "Achievement = Talent x Effort," human beings aren't born into the world with the talent to create compelling PowerPoint slides or knowing how to ski. These are learned skills, and as it turns out, deliberate practice improves a person's ability. Deliberate practice involves focus, consistent challenge, and repetition. But, deliberate practice is not typically fun.

So if the key is deliberate practice, why isn't everyone "great" at something? Well, deliberate practice is hard. It is also lonesome. Some things to know about grit includes:

Genes matter when it comes to grit - while stability comes from genetic factors, change in grit ones from experience

You can build a culture of grit - align employees based on their talents, interests, and personalities. Then, "race to strengths, and train to weaknesses."

When it comes to developing talent, sometimes you need to be gritty for those under you - this includes parents not letting their kids quit sports and helping employees become gritty for themselves by separating the good reasons for "quitting" versus the bad reasons for quitting.

Why is grit important? Grit is a predictor of:

Sales commission
Keeping your job
Progression in competitions
Graduation rates for West Point cadets
Teacher performance

Now, for some encouragement on building capacity for grit.

Goal setting:
What specific goal do I want to achieve
What good thing will happen if I achieve this goal
What obstacles stand in the way of my reaching this goal?

Planning (creating an action list):
Planning needs to have a where, when and how you will get around or avoid the obstacles (i.e. if it is 6 pm on a weekday, I will go to my room and read a book)

Wishing you all the best on the path to grit!


Alicia Arnold holds a Master of Science in Creativity, Innovation and Change Leadership from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College and an M.B.A in Marketing from Bentley University. She enjoys writing about creativity and innovation and is published with Bloomberg Businessweek, the Huffington Post, The National Association of Gifted Children, and iMedia Connection. In her role as an award winning, digital marketer, she uses her passion for creativity and innovation to develop breakthrough digital and social experiences. You can connect with Alicia on Twitter @alicarnold.

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