Develop grit, get things done, and achieve results for yourself and your team

Nine Things Successful People Do Differently - Heidi Grant Halvorson

Heidi Grant Halvorson has a good post this morning on traits of successful people -- specifically, what successful people do to achieve the goals they set for themselves. From Halvorson:

Grit is a willingness to commit to long-term goals, and to persist in the face of difficulty. Studies show that gritty people obtain more education in their lifetime, and earn higher college GPAs. Grit predicts which cadets will stick out their first grueling year at West Point. In fact, grit even predicts which round contestants will make it to at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.


The good news is, if you aren't particularly gritty now, there is something you can do about it. People who lack grit more often than not believe that they just don't have the innate abilities successful people have. If that describes your own thinking .... well, there's no way to put this nicely: you are wrong.

What's more? The same can be said of ineffective teams. Just as people have individual personalities and behaviors, so do teams and departments. Any group of people working together to achieve an objective can be changed, modeled, and driven in such a way that they develop grit -- they create in themselves a more single-minded passion for achieving results.

Halvorson's post is a great read this Friday -- a terrific reminder on how top performers achieve results as individuals, and as teams.


Professor Michael Roberto's Blog: Can You Identify Star Employees Early On?

Professor Michael Roberto's Blog: Can You Identify Star Employees Early On?

The good professor Roberto offers an interesting find today. He's discussing how organizational leaders find high potential future leaders among entry-level ranks:

They must think about the skills and capabilities required to succeed in future leadership positions and look for signs of potential in those areas, rather than simply looking at task performance in the entry level job. After all, good technical skills often make you stand out in an entry-level job, but those capabilities don't mean you have great leadership potential. In addition, companies need to watch for the late bloomers, who perhaps take awhile to find their footing.

This is absolutely one of the top areas for improvement: promotion expertise across institutions. The great assumption -- that current performance is the primary key indicator for success as a future manager -- is rendered false with one quick swipe of the sword of leadership truth: performing a task is a different role than managing others who are performing that task.

Different jobs.

Different sports.

Not even in the same ballpark.

Too often, we see directors promote top-performing employees to team managers based on performance in the role. The logic is sound on the surface:

  1. the employee is a top performer therefore they have a deep understanding of the role and what it takes to be successful
  2. they have a track record of success which will help them build a relationship of trust with their new employees
  3. they understand the metrics by which their performance is being measured, and so on, and so on.

All these things are true.

But the challenges that come from management are so often unrelated to functional performance of the team. Managing people requires a unique skillset, one many are not prepared to learn, understand, and deliver if all they've done is the entry-level functional role. And don't forget: these promotions tend to leave a bigger hole in the team than anticipated -- promoting a top performer to middle management creates a vacuum of lost productivity in the seat they once filled.

Are you prioritizing your people?

Re:Focus: Our Priorities Reveal our Values

Simon Sinek shares a smart perspective today on his blog:

I listened to a presentation given by top executives of a large firm recently. In their presentation, they listed the company’s priorities:

  1. Top line growth
  2. Enhance shareholder value
  3. Focus on global expansion
  4. Enhance customer satisfaction
  5. Our people

I think it’s safe to say, they don’t really value their people. Or at least they don’t put their people before growth. Ironically, the best organizations I’ve ever seen, the ones that are actually more profitable for the long-term, all put people before growth on their list of priorities.

One of the core principles of our work with clients is to bring alignment to the people, process, and technology that make up complex systems. To those unaware of the Teibel approach to change, it might seem as if we give equal weight to these three broad areas.

While each are critical to overall success, Sinek's observation pokes a fine hole in long-held MBA wisdom, and supports our own experience: without the right people, and the right attention to the experience those people bring to their work, a rich conversation about change that drives results can never really happen.