Grit in Business; The Power of Passion, Perseverance And Persistence.
Success in life, business or profession requires more than the skills or education. It can be explained by results from a number of researches done locally and globally over time.
Angela Duckworth in her book Grit; the power of Passion & Perseverance gives a case of thousands of young Americans joining the United States Military academy at West Point. She notes that when young men and women join the military, they think they have earned and made it. Once they start the training, the prospects of finishing the training are never dependent on the entry scores. It gets dependent on a different attribute – grit.
So what is grit? Grit according to the dictionary is described as strength of mind; great courage or fearlessness or fortitude. In a simpler way, it is the ability to persist and persevere amid tough situations because we are so passionate about a certain cause.
Grit in other words can be able to show a person’s emotional intelligence and psychological strength especially at that point when giving up seems so sure. As humans, we are born to conquer but it is always dependent on our abilities to persevere and be consistent in our course of actions.
In business, I can say out of experience that it is never easy. Most people give up as soon as they start because the path of risk taking is the toughest. We tend to thrive well as individuals in our comfort zones. But then that doesn’t make the best entrepreneurs.
It is in business where consistence and persistence best describes an individual with grit in their DNA. Passion breeds the strength to hold onto a cause irrespective of the challenges faced. That is how visionary companies are built. It is more than the money and size. It becomes a case of facing adversity and still finding the energy to rise up and still trudge on.
The book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies written by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras outlines a few companies that can have grit described of them and their founders. They are businesses that have lived the turbulence of economic melt downs to paradigm shifts in technology. They coped up and stood the test of time.
For example, Ford Motors posted the one of the highest annual losses in the American history (3.3 billion dollars) in three consecutive years in the 1980’s before turning around. Sony had repeated product failures during its first five years of its life, 1945 – 1950. 3M began life as a failed mine and almost went out of business in the 1900’s while HP faced severe cut backs in 1945 and even saw its stocks drop to a price below book value in 1990.
Are the companies listed above still in business today? What can you describe of them and their situations? How many of us reading this could have persevered through a 3 year period of loss making like the Ford Motors? Juggling with the idea of uncertainty is what we fear most about businesses.
About two weeks ago, while I was dropping a letter in some office, I overheard some young guys – a lady and about three young men – talking passionately about why to be an entrepreneur needs to be the last bet. Their reasons were that it takes long to break even, there is no surety of making the business work and that unless you are strong willed, there is no point of trying.
Their case was based on a cousin of one of them who had started an energy company in 2014 and received what they could term as break-through in 2017. For them, that was a way bit too long. What I saw in that cousin of theirs was a true version of an entrepreneur who understood that success is more than the money and skills and that it is not an overnight thing. There is the aspect of purpose and focus that later gives birth to grit, persistence and perseverance. Consistence is very important in the wake up for grit. In fact it helps in defining the aspect of grit for an individual.
Like the American army school, those individuals who make it through are never the ones with the highest grades or the highest strength. Passion is far much important and this is what matters because it helps us be focused while threading with purpose and this strengthens our mental faculties and hence we are able to maintain course.
This explains the reason some businesses have lasted centuries, businesses that are built not for the sake of business but so that they can last centuries and achieve a core ideology and purpose. It is because they are grit and purpose driven, and most of it all they are consistent in what they do.
The people behind those businesses have grit, passion, persistence, perseverance and are often clear about the drive in their entrepreneurial journey. It takes time to build a visionary company and it takes more than the genius behind (or of) the idea.
This is the recipe and secret behind businesses and life’s success.
Copyright @ 2018.