Developing Grit

Developing Grit

In my previous blog, I described the three traits of leadership, one of which is grit. As I said, grit is always difficult to define. Some consider it perseverance, faith, mental toughness, competitiveness, etc. Personally, I think you develop grit by not only having faith in the outcome, but also by doing the work necessary – repeatedly and consistently. 


Grit for the Game

In 1987, I witnessed the development – and fantastic outcome – of grit as a student manager on the Indiana University men’s basketball team. Our season ended in a national championship, and the words “Teamwork” and “Toughness” rest on each side of our rings. But, perhaps grit is another word that should be there. 

I don’t believe our grit was formed in the NCAA tournament, when we came from behind in five of our six games – I think it came from an entire season of preparation. 

The day and a half leading up to the national championship was the same as we had prepared for every other game. The team saw successful offensive and defensive possessions from Syracuse. There were summaries of each player’s tendencies in the locker room. We went to the shoot-around and pre-game meal at exactly the same time and in exactly the same fashion. At tipoff, there was no nervousness. Even though it was the biggest game we’d ever played, we had replicated everything we’d done to be successful before.  

We won the championship on our final possession. The most successful aspect of that play was that we ran our normal offense. We didn’t get the ball to our All-American shooter like we’d hoped, but that wasn’t a problem – our team had run this offense thousands of times before, and someone else got the shot. It was preparation, plain and simple, but people saw resolve and grit to come back and win. 

Looking back, I see winning did take grit. However, that grit came from hours of repetition and preparation. 


Grit for Your Business

We know 2016 will be a year of transition for many us financial services professionals, due to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary standards and conflict of interest rules. We MUST start preparing now so we can develop the grit we need to deal with the post-DOL world of financial services.  

Preparing means you need to document your processes and align yourself with organizations that can provide you the best opportunity for success. Those organizations will remain agnostic in their solutions, provide ease of business for you and your clients, and develop the necessary tools to meet the changing needs for our profession. 


Bottom Line:

Grit is developed through a high probability of outcomes because you have prepared and done the work you needed to do – repeatedly and consistently. In order to grow your business in 2016 and beyond, you need organizations with the same philosophy around you.    


About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is the Executive Vice President of Annuities at Ash Brokerage. His strength is helping advisors become more efficient and effective in their businesses. He and his team provide income-planning solutions focused on longevity and tax efficiency, and they also assist advisors with entering defined-benefit termination planning and structured settlement markets.