Archive for October, 2014


The first thing that comes to mind when you hear that word is likely the movie “True Grit,” the classic 1969 movie starring John Wayne about a drunken, hard-nosed U.S. Marshal and a Texas Ranger who help a stubborn young woman track down her father’s murderer in Indian territory. Merriam-Webster defines ‘grit’ as “firmness of mind or spirit; unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.” That would certainly describe John Wayne to a tee!  And what a compliment for someone to be described as having grit.  How about you?  Does your character contain an element of grit?

Michael M. Reuter, Director at The Gerald P. Buccino Center for Leadership Development, shared the following message about grit in a recent email, and I’d like to share it with you:

“To:  The Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning

Angel Lee Duckworth, psychologist, is known for her study of a psychological trait known as grit.  In her 2013 TED presentation, The Key to Success? Grit, she defines grit: “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Dan Rockwell <popular author of the Leadership Freak blog> in a recent post, The Editor of Forbes on Grit, cites Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes magazine, who states that “grit is a form of intelligence…. In the real world, smarts isn’t about looking for the next star student with a 4.0 or having an IQ that can boil water. Instead, it’s about the importance of hard work, of perseverance and resilience. Call it grit.”

Grit is the stuff of great leaders. It is that conscious “extra” and “above-and-beyond” that they give to everything that they do, think about or dream. It is the relentless spark that gives fire to the embers of their passion, the driving force of their life – the what they have chosen to be, the what they have chosen to do.

Vince Lombardi, renowned football coach, said: ‘The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.’ Grow, feed your grit often with renewed dedication to your life’s purpose, that each moment of your magnificent journey you have applied the best of yourself to the task at hand. Continue to be more than you ever dreamed you could be… and more… so much more.”

I have witnessed many of our professionals demonstrate grit, applying themselves 110% to a challenging engagement or project.  It takes fortitude to see something through to the end, especially when there are obstacles and objections along the way.  The next time you are faced with a difficult situation, remember John Wayne… and get your grit on.

Have a great week!


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Today, I’d like to continue discussing Pat Williams’ book, Leadership Excellence: the Seven Sides of Leadership for the 21st Century, covering the fourth side of leadership:

  1. “Some define character as simply aspiring to high ideals and standards. I disagree.  Many people have lofty aspirations. Unfortunately, aspiring isn’t enough. You must also have the strength of commitment and sacrifice to adhere to those standards and ideals in good times AND bad.” – the late Bill Walsh, 49ers coach

The wonderful thing about character is that it is one of the few things in life that no one will ever be able to forcefully take away from you. Your choices are your own. And what is even more interesting is that your TRUE character is revealed mostly when you are in times of being tested.  Pressure or temptation can reveal sides of us we may not want to admit we have, or conversely, allow us to rise to the occasion and be the leader we are meant to be.  Here are a few traits to describe “character,” as outlined in the book:

  • Integrity: “Honesty with a Little Oomph” – ‘As John Wooden once wrote: “You can be as honest as the day is long and still be short on character. How? You can be honest and selfish, honest and undisciplined, honest and inconsistent, honest and disrespectful, honest and lazy….There’s more to character than just being honest.”’
  • Diligence: “If You’re Lazy, Stay Away” – “Leaders of character work hard. They have a strong work ethic.”
  • Self-Control: “The Hardest Person to Lead is Yourself” – “If you want to achieve great things, if you want to turn your leadership vision into reality, you must be a person of self-control… also known as self-discipline…” Your goal as a leader is to motivate yourself and your team to be disciplined from within.
  • Perseverance: “It’s a League Rule” – “When the shepherd falls, the sheep scatter. As the shepherd of your organization, you’ve got to keep going, no matter what.  You’ve got to outlast any trial of adversity that comes your way.”
  • Responsibility: “The Rule of the River” – “Each raft holds six or eight people…. If someone got thrown from the raft, all attention must be directed toward rescuing that person… but that person must be active in his own rescue…” Every person on at team must know and execute their assignment, and it is the leader who is responsible for make their roles clear and executable.
  • Humility: “Absence of Arrogance” – “The arrogance that so often comes with promotion and success inevitably begins their downfall.  The antidote to this syndrome is a commitment to humility, to maintaining a humble spirit.”
  • Leaders who possess character as defined in the above are the great leaders with longevity and a loyal following.  Strive to be that leader of character… for your staff, your clients, your family and your community.  But most importantly… for yourself.

Leaders who possess character as defined in the above are the great leaders with longevity and a loyal following.  Strive to be that leader of character… for your staff, your clients, your family and your community.  But most importantly… for yourself.

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Living a healthy life is important to each and every one of us.  That’s why firm’s health insurance provider, continually offers new ways to help promote a culture of well-being within our company.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Our staff members will see promotional flyers around our offices in the coming days, providing important information about breast cancer to help educate about screenings and risks related to breast cancer.  Our Community Outreach Coordinators will also be distributing pink wrist bands in the coming week, asking for donations in support of this cause.

Opportunities like this also serve as a reminder for all of us, male and female, to schedule our annual health and wellness check-ups with our healthcare care provider of choice.  Underscoring how much we support this effort, anyone who participated in our health screenings will receive a paid day off scheduled for Friday, December 26, 2014.  And this offer was extended to ALL staff… not just the staff who are in the medical plan.  We are very happy to share that many of you did take advantage of the program.

A healthy staff member is a happy staff member… and Withum is very committed to taking care of our family.

Have a great… and healthy… week.

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