True Grit

Every so often, the improbable happens – even when the odds of the improbable happening are 5000-to-1. And when it does, it is usually the result of the timely mixture of several ingredients.

England’s Premier League (football) got knocked on its ear in 2016, when Leicester City won the Title for the first time in its 132-year history. Leicester had only been promoted to the top division two years previous, and nearly got sent back down the next year. They were, literally, on the bottom. The odds of finishing on top were 5000-to-1.

So, what goes into moving a team from the bottom to the top? Talent, of course, is one element. Commitment to a common goal is another. But even more important, and perhaps coming before talent and commitment, is the belief in goal. It’s each individual’s belief in their own abilities. It’s the belief in the abilities of teammates and coaches, and the trust that those abilities will be on full display, in reaching for the goal – nothing will be held back. It’s the team’s belief in itself to make the improbable, not only possible, but probable. And finally, it’s about the grit to see the challenge through to the end.

Grit, as a word, has made a comeback of sorts. It’s the willingness to work hard toward a goal. It’s about the “stick-to-it-iveness,” the commitment to stay the course, even when the going gets a little rough. And it’s about the resiliency and flexibility needed when things don’t turn out as planned for or expected.

Grit isn’t only applied to sports teams or Hollywood movies. It isn’t played out solely on the football field. You will find it on display in the most effective organizations, and see it played out from the shop floor to the C-suite. Grit is that secret ingredient that moves teams, work groups, departments and whole organizations to seek, capture and own the improbable.

Even when the odds are 5000-to-1.