Dr. Paul G. Stoltz on the Application of Grit And Resilience in the Business


  1. Where did you get the idea of starting new consultancy business from?
    From experiencing mediocrity, and the frustration of having my and others’ time wasted learning stuff that didn’t really enrich our lives or equip us for success. I sensed there was something more. When I found it, I tested it. When it proved true, I asked myself, “How can I make a sustainable profit from this, so it can last, and impact countless lives
  2. What were the main goals you set while starting your business?
    Positive, meaningful, and enduring change. I wanted to have the deepest and most permanent possible positive impact on people’s lives, and their enterprises.
  3. Please specify some of the main challenges you face when you started your business?
    Getting enough clients and to be brave enough to try out an entire new way of approaching learning and human effectiveness, that I could leave my professorship and do this full time.
  4. How did you take on those challenges?
    By giving each opportunity my all. Every learning session, every executive coaching class, every client engagement had to be the best they had ever experienced, or I failed, in my eyes.
  5. How did you create a gritty business strategy to withstand adversity?
    By applying our own tools. By diversifying our clients base, broadening globally, remaining small and agile rather than taking the tempting offers to grow big, and trying to harness adversity to strengthen our offerings.
  6. What is Adversity Quotient™ and GRIT™?
    AQ® or Adversity Quotient™ is the science and method for both measuring and strengthening how a person or their enterprise responds to adversity. It is extremely predictive of success (performance, innovation, productivity, energy, health, problem solving, agility, resilience, and more).
    GRIT™ (Growth, Resilience, Instinct, Tenacity) is the capacity to dig deep, to do whatever it takes—especially suffer, sacrifice, and struggle—to achieve your most worthy goals.  GRIT is equally predictive.
    AQ, how you respond to whatever comes your way, is like defense. GRIT, how you go after your goals, is like offense.  As any great coach will say, you need both to win.
    Between the AQ Profile® and the GRIT Gauge™, we’ve assessed more than 1M people worldwide in 63 countries.  We’re tremendously honored that the top companies, governments, and educational institutions in the world use AQ and/or GRIT to equip people to thrive in an adversity rich world.
  7. How did you know you wanted to become an author, executive coach, thought leader, teacher?
    I cared about one thing.  Reaching as many lives as possible in the most impactful way possible has been the driving force of my life.
  8. What is the Global Resilience and GRIT Institute?
    We receive so many inquiries and requests for research using our tools that I formed these entities as scholarly communities, bringing together researchers worldwide, to share ideas and advance our understanding of AQ and GRIT.
  9. What is the strategy you deploy to hire and retain topnotch employees?
    Three things.  I assess their AQ, and GRIT the moment they apply for the job.  Then I use a tool “The RealDeal™” in the interview process.
  10. What are the qualities you want your employees to possess?
    Resilience, GRIT, passion, purpose, uncompromising commitment to being the best…the right values.
  11. How do you help new employees to adjust with the culture of your organization?
    We are extremely clear about it from Day One.  We tell them all the ways we’re weird, what we believe in, and require them to have extremely frank interviews with our inner circle of people, partners and clients.  Eyes wide open.
  12. Everyone struggles with decision making in the beginning. How did you improve your decision making skills?
    Not always.  I sometimes let my heart get in the way of my head when I wanted to help someone or felt they were good persons who needed a chance.  Whenever we didn’t stick to our standards, we failed.
  13. What course of action you typically take to make a decision about a certain matter or problem?
    Purpose, People, Profit.  How does it score on the purpose meter?  How many/what kind of people will it affect, and how profitable will it be financially, so we can continue to fund our quest?  What’s the best use of our resources, time and energy?  If there were a better one, what would it be?  If there isn’t a better one, than this is the thing to do.
  14. What is your opinion about using digital marketing strategies for achieving sustainable growth in today’s business environment? Please specify any particular social media platform you use to reach broader targeted audience.
    We’ve been tremendously successful without marketing ourselves, amazingly enough.  But that doesn’t mean digital marketing doesn’t make a difference.  It does.  We now use LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, and more.  They have drawn more of a following, community, and several opportunities.  So, I’m a fan.
  15. Would you like to give any advice to new and aspiring business leaders and managers?
    Lead like you’re terminally ill, have five years to live, and want to leave the most incredible legacy of good, bettering others to the greatest extent possible in the time you have. Demonstrate the courage and clarity of those older than you, and the energy and optimism of those younger.
  16. When working as an executive coach, what do you feel are the top adversities and challenges leaders face?
    They are incredibly universal, although adversity is also highly personal.  Top of the list includes:  Getting everything done and done well, Getting/staying on top of everything I need to know, remaining well-rounded and present with my family/loved ones, and Staying true to our purpose and values.
  17. How do you help them deal with these?
    We use the AQ and GRIT tools to help them define and stay true to what matters most, no matter what.  People have it within them, but it needs to be nurtured and unleashed in the right ways, for the right reasons.
  18. It is important for every leader to grow and develop continuously. What do you do to ensure continuous personal development?
    Never enough.  I surround myself with diverse people who are smarter than me, trying to ask more than tell.  Trying to be real with myself about all the countless ways I could be so much better, then attempting to make that happen, relentlessly.

Dr. Stoltz’s Bio:
Dr. Paul G. Stoltz is considered the world’s leading authority on the integration and application of grit and resilience. He is author of four international bestselling books on the subject—printed in 14 languages—was voted by HR Magazine as “One of the Top 10 Most Influential Global Thinkers,” and by Executive Excellence as “One  of the 100 Most Influential Thinkers of Our Time.” His newest book, GRIT—The New Science of What it Takes to Persevere, Flourish, Succeed is available now, in which he pioneers the first construct for growing both the quantity and quality of one’s GRIT. Today, GRIT™ and AQ® are the most widely adopted methods of their kind in the world for measurably enhancing one’s resilience, agility, and GRIT—currently in use by industry-leading companies, top institutions, and many governments in 63 countries across the globe. Dr. Stoltz founded PEAK Learning, Inc. in 1987. PEAK is a leading global research and consulting firm, through which he coaches, consults, teaches, and collaborates with top leaders, thinkers, and influencers within a broad range of organizations from start-ups and NGO’s to the Fortune 50 on six continents.

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