This Trait is the Key to Success (in Any Industry)

Here at Convene, we’ve been talking a lot about how things are changing — in the publishing realm because we are a magazine; in the meetings realm because we are an association of meeting professionals; in the tech realm because technology is a vital part of both those endeavors.

We often assume that people are good at something are just smart or have a natural talent for it. “She’s tech savvy.” “He’s a good salesperson.” In some cases, that is true, but in others, that person may have simply identified something they wanted to do and stuck with it until they were really good at it.

Last month, we printed an excerpt from G. Shawn Hunter’s book Out Think: How Innovative Leaders Drive Exceptional Outcomes. Hunter references Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck’s research on encouraging kids by recognizing their grit and perseverance, rather than their intelligence, when attacking a difficult problem.

MacArthur fellow and University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Angela Lee Duckworth sites Dweck as one of her mentors in her own research into grittiness in kids. In this TED Talk Education video, Duckworth discusses her career path as well as results of her research on the presence of grit as the best predictor of success. “Grit,” she says, “is passion and perseverance for very long periods of time.”

So who is successful and why?

I would bet that the most successful companies — whether they are in the realm of tech, meetings, publishing, or anything else — are full of gritty people; those that have pursued what they are passionate about, even when it was difficult. These are the companies that not only drive our changing environments, but are the best able to weather those changes.

Want to test your grit? Take the University of Pennsylvania’s Grit survey and see how you compare to others.

Katie Kervin

Katie Kervin was formerly assistant editor of Convene.