Creating a Resilient Workforce

Compare the life of a business leader today to what it was like 20 years ago. Are things more or less complicated? Is hiring more or less difficult? Is there more or less competition?

No one is immune from challenges and roadblocks. Most people even share the same fears—change, motivation, engagement, recruiting, competing priorities, workplace culture and more. GRIT is a hot topic right now that aims to help with many of these problems companies face. Aside from business, we hear about GRIT in sports, politics and in our schools. The whole world is talking about GRIT.

What is GRIT?

GRIT is defined as your capacity to dig deep and do whatever it takes, even sacrifice, struggle, stumble, and suffer, to achieve your most worthy goals in the best ways. Our most worthy goals also tend to be the most difficult to overcome.

CFBC Ozinga Award
CFBC presents Ozinga with an award honoring their 90th Anniversary

The Ozinga Story

Jeff Warren, a partner at Burke, Warren, McKay & Serritella P.C., sat down with Marty Ozinga, the fourth generation President of Ozinga Bros, Inc., to share the story of working with six brothers in the family business. What began as a small coal yard operation in 1928 has transformed into a national construction material supply operation with over 1,500 employees serving Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida. Communication and resilience have been the keys to their success through the generations.

Quitters, Campers and Climbers

Paul Stoltz is the founder of Peak Learning and the world’s leading expert and consultant on resilience. GRIT impacts the workforce in a variety of ways, primarily affecting culture and performance. Employees fall into three categories: Quitters, Campers and Climbers. These indicate traits like work ethic, motivation and GRIT.

Quitters give up when the going gets tough.

Campers work with the goal of achieving “good enough” before they set up camp. They resist change and have become comfortable, often showcasing burnout and lack of motivation. The boss doesn’t fire them, because “at least they get things done.” On average, 65-95% of a given company’s employees are Campers. On a larger scale, nearly 80% of humanity is believed to be Campers.

Climbers are motivated, passionate and curious. They do not “climb” up the corporate ladder, but rather climb toward their own personal and professional peak. Their dreams and goals steer them and create a resilient mindset.

Paul Stoltz and Marty Ozinga


Paul is the creator of the Adversity Quotient, or AQ, which is the hard-wired pattern of response to adversity. AQ is measured by our responses to life’s tough situations. Though it’s a hard-wired response, AQ can easily be changed and improved regardless of age or experience. It’s often said that it takes 21 days to form a pattern, but we can change, restructure and rewire instantly.

GRIT means making our most difficult and worthy goals happen. It is broken down into four aspects: Growth, Resilience, Instinct and Tenacity.

GROWTH: Growth is an effort-based mindset. Consider new ideas, perspectives alternatives and approaches. Do something new to create excitement, nerves or any other indication of exiting the comfort zone. Try seeking fresh input from a completely unexpected source.

RESILIENCE: It is the ability to constructively respond to and harness the power of facing adversity. Though many things are out of human control, one thing we can consistently impact is our attitude and response.

INSTINCT: Instinct is the gut reaction to pursue the best goals in the smartest ways. Make a meaningful improvement to a process that causes better and faster completion of a task.

TENACITY: It is the degree of persistence, commitment and relentless work one takes to do something meaningful. Tenacity is about focus. Try staying entirely focused on a task for 90 minutes and acknowledge what was accomplished.

Think of AQ as defense and GRIT as offense.

Why Try?

Without GRIT, nothing gets done. There would be no energy, engagement or effort. The functions of humanity would essentially come to a halt. In the workplace, 98% of leaders agree they would trade a GRITTY person with fewer or no skills over a technically skilled person.

Consider the task at hand, whatever that may be. Perhaps it’s a big recruiting effort, an expansion or a strategic plan. Ask the questions:

How strong is your why? What is the end goal? What is the purpose? What is the mission? What is this 70-hour work week for?

How strong is your try? What effort is going into this? What progress are we making? What is new or different about us today compared to yesterday?

Living in a chronic state of try with no reason why will cause poor outcomes and burnout, just as chronic states of why without any try have a lack of outcomes. What adjustments could be made to the try or the why that would create the largest impact? Aligning and maximizing why and try will foster the energy and passion needed to get important things done.

About Paul Stoltz

Paul Stoltz is world's leading expert and consultant on resilience and creator of The Adversity Quotient (AQ). Today, GRIT and AQ are the most widely adopted methods of their kind in the world for measurably enhancing one’s resilience and agility—currently in use by industry-leading companies across the globe. Paul founded PEAK Learning, a global research and consulting firm through which he coaches, consults, teaches, and collaborates with leaders and influencers. As a highly sought-after thought leader and presenter, Dr. Stoltz combines inspiration and humor with application and substance, delivering a compelling and practical message to his audiences.

View photos from the event here. Visit our upcoming events page or the CFBC blog for more updates and information.

This post is a recap from GRIT: Creating a Resilient Workforce on October 11, 2018, featuring a Q&A with Marty Ozinga and a keynote from Paul Stoltz.

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