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By Tom Gibson, Partner/Sr. VP – Nashville

I read a recent column in Forbes by Rich Karlgaard. Mr. Karlgaard titled, “Smarts In Businesses Is Not About IQ”. This article reminded me of a comment I have made to friends and colleagues throughout my career: “The rarest commodity in the business world is common sense. If it were brains, I would be broke.” Mr. Karlgaard points out that hard work, perseverance and resilience are far more important than intelligence. This high level of tenacity and old fashion concepts he refers to as ‘grit’.

He goes on to point out that in the business world, the person who excels is one who can get things done, achieves, endures and succeeds. He quotes Greg Becker, CEO of Silicon Valley Bank, “Some of the better venture capital firms that I know want people who are scrappy and who have been through trials and tribulations. These people will figure out a way to make it work no matter what.” He also quotes Maynard Webb, Chairman of Yahoo’s Board of Directors and a member of SalesForce.com who commented, “What I am looking for is talent but talent isn’t just intellect. Talent is also about what you have done. If you are entrepreneurial trying to break through, it’s about hard work. You have to be tough. You have to be willing to take lots of body blows. So, I am looking for ‘the grit factor’.”

Ultimately, the smartest people in the business world are not those that have the highest IQ’s. They are those who regularly put themselves in situations requiring grit. These acts of courage accelerate learning through adaptation. For those of us in sales, it’s the ability to have the discipline to make more calls than your competitor and to learn the techniques to overcome rejection. This discipline in turn allows you to understand the rewards of delayed gratification and enhances your long-term success.

At a personal level, I would certainly say I have learned more from my failures than my successes. A failure requires the ability to get up when you have been knocked down, to persevere, to be creative and to find ways to and overcome those obstacles that you have encountered to achieve success. The article truly hit home with me and I hope you appreciate some of the thoughts that were expressed in this very well written article.

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