Grit: Why Brands Need It.
Picture the situation. The competition comes out with a brilliant new product or service that will likely erode your market share.
And, a star employee gives notice.
And, your IT team declares there’s been a data breach.
And, the product market you counted on for steady growth is overcrowded with new brands.
And…and…and. You get the idea.
The many things that happen in day-to-day business are full of unknowns. This is part and parcel to doing business. You know that only a few things are really in your control: what you think and what you do. Your thoughts (aka beliefs) create your business mindset and the action that follows defines your forward trajectory and, to a large extent, your level of success.
High achievers have a few common traits: Great stamina, performance under pressure, and resilience. All of this adds up to grit.
In 2011, HRB published an article by Heidi Grant which panned out to be one of their most popular articles, ever. The article highlighted the 9 things successful people do differently. #6 on this list is “grit.”
I believe brands are essentially about character. The very concept of character, of developing not just grit, but purpose, empathy, curiosity, belonging, and emotional-cultural intelligence are the very things that all companies need for sustained success. The idea that we’re going to get to accomplish our business goals, vision, and purpose through a system of rewards and punishments is the complete antithesis of what character is all about.
Brands with grit have three core attributes:
- Focus. Both short- and long-term focus on the things that matter most and are important to success. It’s a willingness to slog through the incoming array of issues that any business faces, and focus on the things that differentiate your brand.
- Courage. Innovative and forward-thinking action in the face of challenges that are out of your control. It’s the ability to embrace the unknown and live in the world of possibilities—this is the land that all entrepreneurs, regardless of size, live in.
- Commitment. Having a clear purpose—the reason for being beyond profit, and a vision for what your big-picture goals are. Companies with a 100-year vision tend to outlast those who focus on short-term goals alone. How many tech start-ups without a long-term vision are still in business? Very few.
Brands need grit because they aim to be high-achievers. Even if your brand is already at the top of your market, it will require focus, courage, and commitment to remain purposeful in what you do. Gritty brands don’t get seduced by the easy path.
Grit predicts who will succeed in the long-term, who will be at the top of the market and stay there sustainably.
Gritty teams thrive because they pull together in a common goal through cultures of belonging and turn great individual performers into determined teams.
Evolved brands have grit because they focus on their self-defined long-term vision. They stand on a driving purpose that gets them through their darkest times. As well, they have a culture of belonging that pulls together resilient people who have common values which encourages collaboration and adaptation.
Being in business is a marathon obstacle course, and your company needs character and grit to finish and finish strong. To get grit you have to stand for something that comes from your core. To apply grit you have to stay focused on what matters most.
If you want to learn more about grit, here are some resources:
- Angela Duckworth’s Grit Scale. A self-assessment tool for measuring how much grit you have.
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance a book and a TED talk, by Angela Duckworth
- Organizational Grit, Harvard Business Review article byThomas H. Leeand Angela L. Duckworth
“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in one’s determination.”
— Tommy Lasorda