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How AQ and GRIT are key to elevating teams amid challenges

AE Team | Nov. 30, 2017

As part of the Leaders Connect series, Aboitiz top leaders gathered to hear Dr. Paul Stoltz speak about AQ (Adversity Quotient) and GRIT as essentials to harnessing challenges in order to succeed. 

Over the course of your life, adversity either consumes you or you consume it.

How Employees Respond to Adversity

  1. Avoiding — People have creative ways of avoiding adversity e.g. not answering emails, blaming someone else, calling in sick, pretend incompetence
  2. Surviving — Coming through the other side of change/effort/project, and have an attitude of relief that it’s over, but what next?
  3. Coping — Only keeping your head above water, coping and dealing
  4. Managing — Taking a given adversity or challenge and applying tools to try to do something effective with it, but you have to be strategic and selective
  5. Harnessing — ‘Adversity alchemists’ take adversity and convert it to fuel that propels them to a place they would never have reached otherwise


Aboitiz Group Paul Stoltz


AQ is your hardwired pattern of response to adversity. People with high AQs experience a fundamentally different journey than those with lower AQs.


4 Parameters of AQ

  1. Control — To what extent you can influence whatever happens next
  2. Ownership — How you’re likely to improve the situation; Higher AQs step up, lower AQs step back
  3. Reach — What extent does adversity affect everything else, e.g. “emotional oil spills” where one bad thing affects other aspects of living; Higher AQs are able to contain this
  4. Endurance — How long you perceive adversity will last or endure; Lower AQs see adversity as lasting forever


As AQ is defense or how you respond to everything that comes at you, grit is offense, the capacity to dig deep and do whatever it takes in the pursuit of your most worthy long-term goals.


Statistically, 98% of employers will choose grit over skill and say they will trade off an entire team (or 7.2 people) for just one employee with exceptional grit.

Company values are meaningless until tested by adversity. Only then do we know what you really stand for or who you are. The lower the AQ, the more situational integrity is.


G – Growth

  • An effort-based mindset; how well do you get fresh ideas, perspectives, alternatives, and inputs

R – Resilience

  • Constructive use of adversity to contribute more than you could have without it

I – Instinct

  • Gut-level capacity to pursue the right goals on the best goals in the most effective ways

T – Tenacity

  • Enduring energy in every effort; the never-say-die attitude


Grit is about your most worthy goals, a relentlessness to elevate over the course of our lives by moving forward and up.


Aboitiz Group Paul Stoltz

Aboitiz Group Paul Stoltz

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