The Biggest Predictor of Success

Posted on August 29, 2013 by TNS Consulting Team (via Scott Spayd) you ever noticed that some coworkers, who are supposedly extremely intelligent and talented, fall short of others who do not possess the same skills? Do you ever see that employees who may not have the most impressive credentials are actually very successful in their work? If so, you may have witnessed a pattern that has been recently studied and described by psychologists, such as Angela Lee Duckworth at the 2013 TED conference, that explains why this can occur.According to Duckworth, it was not IQ that best predicted success in classrooms and other learning situations, but rather, a trait known as “grit”. Grit can be described as a sort of self-discipline or resiliency that helps an individual to persevere when something is difficult. This finding is notable because many researchers support the claim that IQ is the biggest predictor of success in school and in job performance (assuming that the work is cognitive rather than physical) but what if this is no longer the case? According to Duckworth, possessing grit is more important than being smart.

In my own experience, being closely connected to the world of higher education, I have seen this a few times with individuals who are supposedly the “smart ones” with high test scores and impressive educational backgrounds. However, sometimes (but not always!) these individuals provide less than stellar performance in group settings and put forth little effort. Then, others who have less talent on paper can sometimes be those who work the hardest and are ultimately more successful. Duckworth mentions that her research team’s data shows that not only is talent generally unrelated to grit, but sometimes it can even be inversely related.

What implications do you think this information has for workplaces? Should HR managers begin to rethink hiring practices? How would you go about making others more “gritty”.

Reference: Lee Duckworth, A. (2013, May). The key to success? Grit. [Video file]. Retrieved from


TNS Consulting Team (via Scott Spayd)

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Great companies know that it takes highly engaged employees to retain customers and make their brand promise come alive. To make the connection between your employees, customers and brand, you need a partner with deep expertise across several areas. Only KANTAR TNS has over two decades of employee survey experience, as well as access to the consultative and research resources of the world’s largest customer satisfaction benchmark database and brand analytics research. Whether you have 200 employees or 200,000, Kantar TNS has the expertise and the advanced measurement, reporting, and follow up tools you need to deliver on your employee and customer brand promise.

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