(And why it should if it doesn’t)

“High achievers have extraordinary stamina. Even if they are already at the top of their game, they’re always striving to improve. Even if their work requires sacrifice, they remain in love with what they do. Even when easier paths beckon, their commitment is steadfast. We call this remarkable combination of strengths ‘grit.’” Organisational Grit, T.H. Lee and A.L. Duckworth, HBR, September 2018

Readers of my blog (and I thank you for your perseverance) will know that I champion developing grit in our students so that they are not only able to face the rigours their future may bring, but triumph over them.

As we require our teachers to be models for our students in behaviour and as lifelong learners, I believe the way your school operates should be a model of organisational grit for our students.

In other words, we must constantly strive to develop our school into a gritty organisation.

The path to doing this is actually quite clear and in shining a light on that path, I am opening us up to your assessment of how successful we are in achieving this goal – a risk, but worth it!

Feel free to give me your judgement.

Organisational Grit requires:

  • Focussing clearly on why we are here → To provide the best possible education for the students and families we serve and refusing to accept any form of educational mediocrity.
  • Selecting and supporting staff with grit, i.e. passion and perseverance. Employing teachers and staff whose goals align with the School’s desire to place the student at the centre of decisions.
  • Gritty teams: Creating teams that exhibit a willingness and ability to work hard, learn and be determined to improve. Teams that show “resilience in the face of setbacks and a strong sense of priority and purpose.”

“In complex environments, resilience often spells success, while even the most brilliantly engineered fixed solutions are often insufficient or counterproductive.” ― General S McChrystal, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

  • Ongoing commitment to a shared purpose and a focus on constant improvement – Focussing on an unrelenting drive to improve.
  • The ability to prioritise and do what is most important first.
  • Aligning values and goals with action.
  • Accepting that sometimes people will find change hard to deal with and instead of backing off, offering them the opportunity to “come on board.”
  • Taking calculated risks, reducing mistakes and always looking for ways to improve our performance.

“There’s likely a place in paradise for people who tried hard, but what really matters is succeeding. If that requires you to change, that’s your mission.” ― General Stanley McChrystal, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World.

Organisational grit requires gritty leaders. Leaders who:

  • are the personification of our passion to offer our students the very best
  • provide visible role modelling of resilience
  • are both supportive and demanding of their teams
  • are dedicated to maintaining the highest of standards

I am confident that SCAS is developing into an organisation with real grit because we are not willing to sit on our hands and accept that we are now as good as we can be.

I believe we are developing the kind of leadership at SCAS, in both staff and students, that leads to success for the individual and leadership that serves the greater good.

We accept that teaching is a high value profession that is best built on hard work, willingness to be selfless for the benefit of our students and a lack of the kind of limited mentality that says being better is too hard.

The alternative is…..

 Sounds a bit too familiar in today’s world.


Mr Terry Muldoon
Principal, St Columba Anglican School