David Crockett was visiting New York. On his visit to City Hall he was introduced to the mayor of the city and was told that he had been a tanner. Concerning this Crockett wrote, “that pleased me; for I thought both him and me had clumb up a long way from where we had started: and it is truly said, ‘Honor and fame from no condition rise.’ It’s the grit(emphasis mine) of a fellow that makes the man(Crockett, p.181-182).”
Webster’s on-line dictionary defines grit as , “mental toughness and courage, firmness of mind or spirit: unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.” Certainly in his own life Crockett greatly exhibited this quality eventually even dying for the cause of independence at The Alamo. It was grit that Vince Lombardi was looking for in his players before his first season of coaching the Green Bay Packers. In one of his first meetings with the team he said, “I’ve never been a losing coach and don’t intend to start here. There is no one big enough to think he’s got the team made and can do what he wants. Trains and planes are coming in and leaving Green Bay every day, and he’ll be on one of them. I won’t. I’m going to find thirty-six men who have the pride to make any sacrifice to win. There are such men. If they’re not here, I will get them(Eisenberg, p.92).”
Does this quality of grit apply to business and creating a successful company? Absolutely. Jim Collins, in his book, Great By Choice, said that 10Xers ( companies that beat their industry indexes by a minimum of ten times over fifteen years) had leaders who exhibited “Fanatic Discipline”. Collins described the discipline as follows, “True discipline requires the independence of mind to reject pressures to conform in ways incompatible with values, performance standards, and long-term aspirations. For a 10Xer, the only legitimate form of discipline is self-discipline, having the inner will to do whatever it takes to create a great outcome, no matter how difficult(Collins, p. 20-21).” That sounds like leaders with grit.
To be a successful and winning company, lead with grit and build a team of people with grit.
*Crockett, David, Brainerd, E. A. (1902), The Life of David Crockett, An Autobiography
*Eisenberg, John, (2009), That First Season
*Collins, Jim, Hansen, Morten T. (2011), Great By Choice