‘Practise makes perfect’ – perseverance as a concept is one well known to most. From learning times tables to perfecting a parallel park, early in life, tenacity is trumpeted as the major contributor to achieving goals. Somewhere along the line however, grit appears to be ousted in favour of other traits such as IQ, social confidence and even good looks. Yet new research, spearheaded by Angela Duckworth, has illuminated grit as a far more ubiquitous predictor of success than it had previously been given credit for.
From military academies to spelling bees, teacher training, to new sales employees, Duckworth and her team studied 1000s of individuals to find out who was successful and why. Across the different contexts, one factor emerged as significant: grit. It was those with stamina, the ones who stuck with it day-in-day-out, that were eventually met with success. Again and again they saw instances where talented individuals lacking in grit, were surpassed by the determined. The individuals, who picked themselves up after setbacks, remained focused on the end goal and recognised that accepting help from others did not equate to weakness.
Whilst the research demonstrates grit as a central aspect across most walks of life, one in which it is particularly significant is sales. A profession known to be highly competitive and where success is unambiguously measurable, the findings raise interesting questions for employers. How do we find people with grit? And, how do we make our people grittier? This is where we can help.
Our Sales Report measures Grit itself, as well as three other crucial aspects of being successful in sales, namely focus, empathy and appetite. The model uses psychometrics to learn about where an individual’s preferences and hesitations lie on the sales cycle and then provides insights about their strengths and development points. The tool can be used to help advise hiring decisions or as a springboard for effective development.
In fact, one of the most encouraging aspects of Duckworth’s research is that grit is not fixed. By instilling a culture of courageous persistence and treating failures as opportunities to learn, people’s capacity for grittiness increases – as does their success. Carol Dweck coined the term ‘growth mindset’ and it can be applied to almost any organisation. By placing the emphasis on continual development and the understanding that the brain can grow and change, employees are less likely to give up and more likely to come back stronger.
If you are interested in finding out more about grit, you can watch Angela Duckworth’s Ted Talk below. Or if you would like some information about how we can help you harness it in your organisation give us a call on 01273 734 000 or drop us an email.
Published by Issy Hunter