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October 2019
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GRIT and Goal Attainment

Posted by: Gurpal Minhas


The result for Chelsea against Barcelona last Wednesday night (27 April 2012) hit headlines across the world. There were plaudits for the Chelsea manager on a sterling performance by his side. How did the team with 10 men reach the biggest final of their careers against a team repeatedly called “the best club side in the world”?  Some say Barcelona had a bad day at the office. Chelsea midfielder, Frank Lampard, described how his team “dug-deep and never gave up.” This form of bounceback is often seen on the sports pitch, but do HR professionals and managers working in their respective fields recognise this ability in the workplace?


Luthans, Youssef and Avolio (2007) found that resilience (one of the four elements of psychological capital) is a notable predictor of high performance, better satisfaction and lower absenteeism in today’s working world. Likewise, Seligman (2011) defined the theory of GRIT which relates to the combination of “very high persistence and high passion for an objective.” In Chelsea’s case, it was the consistent defending alongside the passion for wanting to reach the final.


So how do we develop GRIT?  Typically, these individuals aren’t discouraged by setbacks, are hard workers, finish what they start and are very diligent in their output. Are there strengths that one has to have to achieve their target regardless of situation? Could individuals with the strength of Drive (people who are self-motivated to achieve what they want from life) and Growth (people who are always look for ways to grow and develop) have an advantage to remain determined?  What strengths do you have that could help develop that persistence to achieve an objective? These are questions we are asking in a current Realise2 validation study – so watch out on The Capp Blog for our results in the future!


To achieve a successful outcome, there often is a particular hunger for wanting to achieve a particular goal. This hunger can be represented by having a meaning- an explicit desire to want to achieve this outcome. When twinned with GRIT, the individual forms a real positive mindset. To think about the impact that meaning can have on you, can you think of the last outcome that you’ve achieved using determination that had little or no meaning to you?


So, as you review your personal GRIT level, how many of your colleagues show these characteristics?


Here are some handy tips to watch and assist in your quest to develop a workforce with more GRIT:

  • What experiences have you/they had when they’ve survived daunting projects? Can you begin to build a bank of positive experiences that you can refer back to showcasing your potential?
  • Are individuals scarred from their last experiences? Do you have any processes in place to discuss what occurred and what strengths an individual possesses to help them bounce back from this? By developing an individual’s self-awareness, can you help them recognise their abilities?
  • Can you create/develop a greater sense of meaning around a particular project?
  • Can you highlight where projects may struggle, acknowledge that you’ll need to demonstrate some of the typical GRIT behaviours?
  • How can you use your unrealised strengths to maximise the use of particular strengths to achieve those targets? Are you aware of your learned behaviours that you’ll need to moderate? What particular things drain you?

One thing we know for sure is that people are more resilient, and experience less stress, when they are using their strengths. As such, strengths use is very likely an enabler of psychological capital, and so will help us achieving our goals and building our GRIT.



Luthans, F., Youssef, C. M., & Avolio, B. J. (2007) Psychological capital: Developing the human competitive edge. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

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