Do Millennials Lack Grit?

In a recent blog post, “Why Millennials Struggle For Success”, well known psychologist, author and MacArthur Fellow Angela Duckworth, explores the question many experienced business leaders and managers ask as well: What’s wrong with Millennials? Why do they keep changing jobs? Why do they complain when work needs to be taken home over the weekend? And so on.

She asks if it’s because they don’t have enough grit. Duckworth believes the secret to outstanding success is not talent but rather a special blend of passion and persistence called grit. Duckworth developed a Grit Scale and now has scores from thousands of Americans where her data reveal that grit and age go hand and hand.

So what do we do with those Millennials? Today, Millennials make up one third of the workforce and in four years time they will be half. With the average age of the US B2B sales rep at 40 years old, millennial sellers are, or soon will be, the future revenue generators and business leaders for their firms. Smart sales and marketing leaders realize that status quo communication, management approaches and tools will fail to inspire, and are adapting their enablement strategies and tech stacks to resonate with this important group of employees.

Are you interested in learning new ways to enlist, inspire, recruit and retain your millennial reps? If so, join my upcoming webinar with Sales for Life’s Jamie Shanks and’s Gabe Larsen, How to Engage, Enable and Manage Your Millennial Sales Rep.

By specifically delving into values, priorities and motivators for the millennial rep, we’ll provide go-to-market and other business leaders with a more complete picture of what makes Millennials tick. We’ll also share cross-industry examples of how the most innovative companies capture and share the collective knowledge and best practices of tenured employees and invest in ways to accelerate the development and career progression of their high performing Millennials.

Are you a Millennial? A Boomer? An X or Y? Do you have what it takes to be successful? Here’s Duckworth’s Grit Scale. Let me know how you do!

Mary Shea is principal analyst serving B2B marketing professionals at Forrester Research. Read more Forrester blogs here.

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    Stuart Crawford:

    Interesting Joe…I scored at 2.60.

      Joe Panettieri:

      I scored a 3.40. Basically, I get obsessed about the projects I’m working on but only if they last a few months. Hence, it’s easy to understand why I’ll work on a research report or extended blog series… but never got around to writing a book. 😉

    Luis Garcia:

    Interesting, I’ve never seen a metric to measure why our generation sucks 🙂
    I scored a 3.1 but I’m in the same boat where I will obsess about a particular project but after a few months its no longer relevant. Perhaps the Internet is one of those causes since so much information is transmitted in real time the markets are always changing which affects the outcomes of projects.

      Joe Panettieri:

      Hey Luis: Thanks for weighing in. It’s a bit like software sprints. Develop for a few weeks, release the code, then move on to the next round of development, etc. I take the low score as a badge of honor. 😉


    Tom Fox:

    Hmmm, 4.4 here.

    Joe Panettieri:

    Tom takes the lead. Do I hear 5.0? Going once. Going twice…

    Dustin Bolander:

    Millennial here, 4.4. My wife accuses me of being an old man trapped in a young man’s body though…

      Joe Panettieri:

      Hmmm… I’m avoiding an overwhelming temptation to post a witty reply.

    Amy Katz:

    I scored a 3.6. Not great, not awful. But definitely not the illusive 5.0… I’d love to see how this continues to evolve in our market — I think with current technologies and ease of change, even for us pre-millenials, it would be hard to 5.0. ABK

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