The Transformative Power of Grit

A classroom full of students. A hall full of new Army recruits. An assembly line full of workers. How can we look at all these wildly different groups of people and best determine those who will flourish in their environment?

For the students, we’d probably go straight to their IQ scores. The Army recruits would likely be judged by their physical attributes. The assembly line workers could be graded on experience, age, work history, and a whole range of other factors.

But what if there were one measurement that told us more than any of the above? A measurement that applied to all of these settings, to all of these people?

According to psychologist Angela Duckworth, there just might be such a measurement. She calls it “grit.”

What is “grit”?

Angela Duckworth is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as founder and CEO of Character Lab. Her background in public school education has prompted a lifelong mission in which she seeks ways to better understand the motivations and behaviors that power thriving students — and how to use that understanding to help even more thrive.

Her definition of grit is relatively simple: passion and perseverance applied to the pursuit of very long-term goals. She also describes grit as “stamina,” and one’s ability to “stick to your future” for the long haul.

Duckworth’s pioneering research into various groups (not only students and recruits, but new teachers, new employees, and even spelling bee contestants) illustrated that, even when very similar people are exposed to very similar circumstances, some will wilt and some will thrive based on their desire and capacity to work hard.

This concept of grit dovetails with the idea of the “growth mindset.” Essentially, those with a growth mindset do not look at failure as a permanent state. Growth mindset-based individuals are much more likely to overcome setbacks because they see the world in terms of opportunities for improvement rather than failures of skill.

By her own admission, Duckworth’s concept of grit isn’t enough to explain every instance of success or failure. However, a person’s tenacity for achieving long-term goals seems to play a very large and obvious role in their day-to-day motivation and behavior.

nGROUP is a culture of GRIT

As experts in labor management, nGROUP has long believed in and promoted the importance of grit. We see passion and perseverance every day, and we know what powerful factors they are in a person’s (or workforce’s) overall performance.

We recognize grittiness when we see it, too. The culture we’ve built within hundreds of workforces places enormous value on sticktoitiveness and hard work. The jobs our people do are often extremely demanding, and we actively seek out those whose shoulders are set just that much more firmly in their work.

The people on the line exemplify grit by dealing with ever-changing circumstances, as they are called upon to learn quickly and respond even faster. Whether it’s a team supervisor or the newest associate, environments as diverse as retail distribution and fresh food production all present substantial challenges.

Workers in retail distribution settings display grit by keeping up with the fast pace of the warehouse. As orders come flying in, only the grittiest teams can remain at their peak in order to be their most productive.

In fresh food production, the need for acceptable yields (as well as the often harsh environment of the job itself) demands an extra layer of performance. It’s not enough simply to “work” on a fresh food line; you have to work well, and staying at that level for an entire shift requires true grit.

We also see grit in nGROUP’s management leaders as they travel across the United States in the unending job of helping our clients reach greater heights of success. When travel became especially risky during the pandemic, our people saw the danger and recognized it, but stayed committed to the task at hand.

But being a gritty leader goes beyond a difficult travel schedule. As with the concept of the growth mindset, grit means being brave enough to try something new even when there are no guarantees. Innovation is built on trying, and trying is all about taking risks. Gritty individuals fear risk less because they know that failure is not a permanent state.

You’ll love grit, too

Talent, aptitude, and environmental factors are beyond crucial in determining the people and enterprises that will be most successful. But they’re far from the only things in play. A tough work ethic that values long-term achievements is also vital. We call that work ethic grit.

nGROUP places grit squarely alongside all the other most important values and attributes of people on our teams. We believe in the power of grit, and we also believe in the ability to cultivate grit. From the ground up, we place extra emphasis on what it means to use passion and perseverance to keep our goals — whether personal or professional — within striking distance.

Organizations that depend on large labor forces also depend on grit. When you work with nGROUP to recruit and manage high-performing people in your facilities, you’re working with a partner that understands the importance of this internal strength and resilience. Far from being the only factor we think about, grit is one of the measures by which we are constantly judging our own performance. But it is one of the most important.

To learn more about what a gritty labor performance partner can do for your operation, get in touch with us today. Tapping the potential of passion is an amazing source of energy and innovation. With nGROUP, you can turn that grit into bottom line success.

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