Monday Mornings with Madison

Monthly Archives:
January 2018

Grit is an Essential Ingredient for Success – Part 2

Most every leader, entrepreneur and manager wants to have and hone the qualities that contribute to and best predict success. For example, most leaders want to demonstrate the qualities of confidence, organization, selflessness, structure, humility, and conscientiousness. But, in excess, even the best leadership qualities can become flaws. Someone who is too confident can become arrogant. A person who is too organized can become obsessive. A person who is too selfless can become a people-pleaser. A person who is too structured can have trouble being creative. A person who is too humble may not be able to inspire others to follow. A person who is too conscientious can become neurotic. However, there is one trait that every leader should have in as much abundance as possible. That is grit, a perseverance and passion for long term goals. There doesn’t seem to be such a thing as too much grit. The more grit a person has, the more they press on in the face of adversity. There is no downside to it.
Grit is a key trait – or combination of traits – that is absolutely essential for success. And, according to Dr. Angela Duckworth who won the Genius grant for her study of grit, it is also an excellent predictor of success. People with grit usually demonstrate courage, resilience, conscientiousness, follow-through, and excellence in very specific ways. A person with grit usually has a goal he/she cares about so much that it organizes and gives meaning to almost everything he/she does. Best of all, grit is something that can not only be learned, but also something that tends to increase with age. Continue reading

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Grit is an Essential Ingredient for Success

Practically every major business news outlet has written or broadcast an article or show in the last few years about grit. New York Times. Entrepreneur. Inc. Fast Company. Fortune. Business Insider. Wired. Forbes. NPR. Psychology Today. Slate. Washington Post. Ted Talk. American Radio Works. Success. PBS. Why is this topic getting so much media attention? While there has never been a shortage of books and theories about what it takes to succeed, the current focus is on grit because it is not only an essential ingredient for success, but also a top predictor of success too. And doesn’t everyone want to know if they have what it takes to succeed?
Let’s start by understanding what grit is. All of these articles aren’t referring to the Meriam-Webster dictionary definition of grit as “courage and resolve; strength of character; indomitable spirit”, although it does have some relationship to that. In its application to human behavior and success, grit is defined as “a positive, non-cognitive trait that is based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve that objective.” In other words, it’s about having a perseverance and passion for long term goals. So, based on that definition, grit isn’t actually a single trait as much as a rich stew of traits that, when combined within a person, becomes more like a super trait…. and thus an excellent predictor of success. People with a lot of grit are usually successful. So exactly what does grit look like in practice. And, is it possible to deliberately increase our ‘grittiness’? Is grit an inherited trait that some people simply have (like winning the lottery of personality traits), or is it something that is learned? Continue reading

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Updating Your Corporate Brand with 2018 Design Style

The relentless pace of change is accelerating. Just keeping up with technology, systems, processes, laws, regulations and trends can be positively draining for corporations. Every time we blink, some other aspect of business has evolved and requires updating. With the arrival of 2018, companies big and small are reviewing, revisiting and restructuring their legal and operational organizations to maximize the financial and tax benefits. There is so much that will need to be overhauled in just those areas alone. It is easy to overlook sales and marketing when everything else needs attention, and that would be a mistake.
It is also important to review and revamp a company’s brand to keep up not only with big changes in design but also to ensure that the company’s identity has the portability to be viewed across a multitude of devices and outlets. Companies of all sizes are streamlining and optimizing their brands to ensure they resonate across a wide array of mediums, audiences and platforms. To tear a page off Nike’s playbook, it is key to build a brand with ongoing appeal to every demographic and across every medium worldwide. Indeed, when it comes to universal brand appeal that is continually evolving, Nike is King. But actually all savvy brands understand that a brand’s identity – the look, feel, voice, attitude and personality — is not something that is created and done. It must evolve with the times and trends. To that end, what should corporations be considering as they look to update their brand to today’s design trends? Continue reading

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Employee Loyalty and Employee Turnover in 2018

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is holding at 4.1%, the lowest it’s been since December 2000. In fact, for the first time on record, there has been job growth for 86 consecutive months. This is considered by most economists to be close to or at “full employment.” The stock market has also been setting records seemingly every month. Greg Ip, a writer for Dow Jones Newswires, reported last July on Fox Business that “the economic expansion is now entering its ninth year and in two years will be the longest on record.” That is now a year and a half away and economic expansion continues. By all accounts, this is the hottest economy the U.S. has had in a very long time.
Current tax reform is expected to further spur economic expansion and business growth. Companies are poised to take advantage of the myriad of tax benefits. Many businesses are already making plans for capital improvements, equipment updates and new technology purchases. Armed with updated systems, businesses are expected to expand their geographic reach and/or product lines. A surge in the creation of small businesses is also anticipated given the tax benefits for pass-through companies. By all accounts, if there was ever a time to start or grow a business, it is now. All of this business growth will likely spur increased hiring, which will likely push the unemployment rate even lower. How will a heated labor market affect employee turnover given the U.S.’s current labor force? Continue reading

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Look for Problems in 2018 – Pt 2

We look up to people who face challenges. We admire those who go through darkness and still come out smiling. We respect those who are face adversity but are still capable of compassion. We revere those who rise above their problems and even thrive. Those problems are what made them stronger and wiser. Problems are not only what inspire us, but also what makes us inspiring. To identify a problem and tackle it, with a head held high, speaks to grit and growth. A life without problems is empty. There would be no growth.
It is normal to wish for a problem-free existence. No one wants to deal with challenges, especially those that are depleting and destructive at work. We think life would be better without trials and problems. But that is just not true. While it is both easy and natural to hate problems and troubles, such challenges are just misunderstood. Problems and troubles force us to be creative, determined and courageous. Problems force us to be strong and influence who we become. Struggles are stepping stones to innovations and lead to the creation of better things and better people. In fact, that is what life is… a series of trials that must be faced and problems that must be solved. If we look at problems this way, they cease being burdens that we don’t want to deal with and become exciting opportunities. By embracing problems as gifts, business becomes a lot less taxing and a lot more exciting. And we if find the best way to tackle problems, then we become really effective and efficient. Isn’t that really the ultimate goal for 2018? Here are the steps to becoming a skilled problem-solver for the year ahead. Continue reading

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