Grit: The key to 50 years of progress
Who is successful and why?
Angela Lee Duckworth spent over a decade investigating this query among various groups, from West Point cadets to middle school spelling bee champions, and she discovered the common thread between high-achievers is their grit.
“Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term goals, and working really hard to make that future a reality,” Duckworth says.
In her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Duckworth recounts how various studies and interviews with successful people led her to three components of gritty people: having a purpose in life, being willing to work hard for it, and having resilience when faced with setbacks.
Grit, one of EMJ’s core values and a defining trait in founder Edgar M. Jolley, is a large reason the corporation is celebrating 50 years of service this year.
Jim Self, former Superintendent and Vice President of Construction at EMJ, who worked closely with Jolley, said, “When we started a project, we knew when we had to finish it…and we did whatever it took to accomplish that.”1
Empowered by our purpose to be “people serving people,” the emphasis on working hard to meet commitments remains at EMJ and continues to help our team build strong relationships with clients and partners across the U.S.
“Whether it’s analyzing drawings to identify cost savings for a client or staying up all night to oversee a concrete pour, I see our people going above and beyond every day to serve our clients,” says Doug Martin, President of EMJ Construction.
We recognize and celebrate wins, but we also embrace a culture of growth and persevering through challenges. We promote transparency about issues and lessons learned on projects, improving quality and efficiency on current projects throughout the family of companies.
“I could tell you a story about my first year in construction 36 years ago, when I was working as a project engineer and made such a huge mistake, I should’ve been fired,” says Burt Odom, President and CEO of EMJ Corporation. “Fortunately, my manager gave me grace. I learned from my error and corrected course. I tell that story to new employees as a lesson to never give up…and don’t forget to double-check your spec book.”
Success isn’t about being the smartest or most talented person in the room. Further, grit empowers anyone with drive to be successful, as long as they are willing to work for it and persevere through difficult circumstances.
Watch Angela Lee Duckworth’s full TED Talk here.