Jim Leighton

Organizations and individuals that create lasting change share one common trait and it’s grit. Grit is having a resilient attitude in the face of failure or despair. It means enduring years of obscurity and hard work without reaping the immediate payoff.

Grit brings to mind pictures of the old American frontier, of pioneers and their resolve. It also evokes images of mountaineers and extreme sports junkies rising to the top of their game, some even dying to get there. It’s the stuff of injuries, setbacks, and hard knocks.

In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell asserts that it takes roughly ten years or 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill set, affirming that greatness is not a microwave phenomenon but a slow, painful refinement. Nothing trumps good old-fashioned hard work. People with grit don’t look for shortcuts. Persistence, among few other things, transforms raw skill into mastery.

As an executive coach, trainer, teacher and the founder of FIT, only a persistent work ethic led to success in my own life and the lives of others. Grit is a long-term optimistic perspective that success can and will happen as the byproduct of hard work and vision. But we can’t do it alone, and that’s why I created Getting FIT.

You need a Fully Integrated Team to bring the right things and the right people together into a dynamic, life-giving combination. A FIT is a group of people who together can create something bigger and more meaningful than any single individual ever could. For organizations especially, this includes the added dimension of being fiscally FIT. A large consumer packaged goods company that implemented FIT experienced an over 80 percent decrease in hiring turnover from an increase in employee satisfaction.

The Success Quotient is a FIT concept that leverages natural intellect, emotional aptitude, and grit. It demonstrates how individuals are propelled into lasting success and includes the often overlooked element of grit. The Intelligence Quotient (IQ) refers to an individual’s natural intellectual capacity or know-how. The Emotional Quotient (EQ) is a combination of one’s self-awareness and empathy. The Grit Quotient (GQ) is the zeal by which setbacks and failure are overcome.

IQ + EQ + GQ = Success.

Greatness is more than a lofty notion; greatness demands grit. But it also means being selective. Do not try to be the best at everything; try to be the best in the world at one thing. You can be sure that the resilience you need is within you, waiting to be utilized. Are there any attitudes or actions or habits in your life that are suppressing that resilience? Identify those now, and deal with them.

The concept of Fully Integrated Teams comes with the idea that the sum is greater than the whole. I use this idea in my leadership to connect with people who have similar passions, and together we drive organizations on to success. To learn more about the FIT movement and to become one of 100,000 people already experiencing the power of FIT, subscribe to receive our free newsletter and begin your dynamic leadership now!


About the Author

Jim Leighton is the President of Perdue Foods, the third largest poultry company in the United States. With over thirty-five years of experience in the consumer packaged goods food and beverage industry, Jim held senior management and executive positions with ConAgra Foods, The Hain-Celestial Group, Celestial Seasonings a nd Nabisco. Jim was founder and CEO of National Health Management Inc. and a graduate of University of Iowa. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration and has taught Leadership and Organizational Behavior as a Senior Faculty Member at Keller Graduate School of Business. Jim serves on the Board of Directors at Smart Balance Inc., multiple trade association boards and Atlantic General Hospital Corporation and Foundation Boards. He lives with his wife, Fritzi, in Berlin, Maryland. For more information, visit www.jimleighton.com.


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