Twelve of us are headed to Patagonia next month. In fact, we start our Crucible expedition in one month and one day. We’re a team of two technical guides, one leader, one videographer, and four special operations veterans paired up with four executives (with generous sponsorship from Western Union). It’s a diverse group, and we believe we have selected folks who possess a good combination of adventure and aspiration.
I have been reading “GRIT,” by Angela Duckworth’s, and it’s a well-written book on the power of passion and persistence. One could also call it the relentless pursuit of excellence as passion is a dream if not pursued, and persistence can be wasted effort if not focused.
I believe the leaders going to Patagonia all possess GRIT, and we are using a survey tool called Pairin to assess our team’s current dynamic, and we’ll compare that baseline to what happens after a “crucible.” Pairin measures a number of behaviors, and Grit is defined as, “To work diligently toward distant goals, maintaining effort and interest over time—despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress.” On a scale that goes from minus 50 to plus 50, our team has an average score of plus 31, which puts us in the top tier of “grit.”
The Pairin data also warns that very high Grit scorers need to mindful that, “not everything is worth pursuing, and that letting go is sometimes for the best.” I am interested to see how grit plays into the team dynamic, and how we can use our experience as a brand new team to help other teams accelerate passage through Tuckman’s “Form, Storm, Norm, Perform” stages.
We’re approaching this from four P’s”
Predict | Prescribe | Perform | Probe
Predict – We are using the Pairin data to catalog the strengths and potential challenges of the group given that every team is unique in its group dynamic.
Prescribe – Based on multiple conference calls, and the Pairin data, we have established ground rules for the team in the way we’ll communicate, work, correct, adjust, modify, decide, and even where and when humor is appropriate!
Perform – We have very specific objectives we aim to accomplish as a group and as individuals, which not only includes the expedition, but civic work in Argentina. Performance will be measured based on achievement, and on how well we adhered to the ground rules we established (behaviors based on shared values).
Probe – We will conduct a very through debrief to learn what we got right, where we missed, what we learned, and how to improve the program going forward.
We look forward to sharing the results of our work with you, and hope that what we learn will ultimately help you accelerate the development of your team by growing leaders more effectively regardless of the type of journey!
Jan Rutherford is the founder of Self-Reliant Leadership, LLC and co-host of The Leadership Podcast where the focus is on studying leaders. He is the author of “The Littlest Green Beret: On Self-Reliant Leadership,” and is passionate about helping veterans transition successfully when they exit the military. He is also a senior instructor at the University of Colorado Denver Business School where he teaches leadership to MBA and Doctor of Nursing Practice students in the U.S. and Ireland.