What does it take for women to succeed in a male-dominated world? The Grit Factor.
At age nineteen, Shannon Huffman Polson became the youngest woman ever to climb Denali, the highest mountain in North America. She went on to reach the summits of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Kilimanjaro and spent more than a decade traveling the world. Yet it was during her experience serving as one of the Army's first female attack helicopter pilots, and eventually leading an Apache flight platoon on deployment to Bosnia-Herzegovina, that she learned the lessons of leadership that forever changed her life.
Where did these insights come from? From her own crucibles of experience—and from other women. In writing The Grit Factor, Polson made it her mission to connect with an elite pack of tough, impressive female iconoclasts who shared with her their candid stories of combat and career. This slate of decorated leaders includes Heather Penney, one of the first female F-16 pilots, who was put on a suicide mission for 9/11; General Ann Dunwoody, the first female four-star general in the Army; Amy McGrath, the first female Marine to fly the F/A-18 in combat and a 2020 candidate for the US Senate—and dozens of other unstoppable women who got there first, including Polson herself.
These women led at the highest levels in the most complicated, challenging, and male-dominated organization in the world. Now, in the post–#MeToo era, when positive role models of women leading are needed as never before, Polson brings these voices together, sharing her own life lessons and theirs with storytelling flair, keen insight, and incisive analysis of current research.
With its gripping narrative and relatable takeaways, The Grit Factor is both inspiring and pragmatic, a book that will energize and enlighten current and aspiring leaders everywhere—whether male or female.
Shannon Huffman Polson served as one of the first women to fly the Apache helicopter in the US Army. In addition to her military service, she earned her MBA at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and spent five years leading and managing in the corporate sector, at Guidant and Microsoft. She is the founder of the Grit Institute and speaks frequently on topics related to leadership, courage, resilience, and grit. She and her husband, Peter, live in Washington State and have two energetic sons.
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Former Army attack helicopter pilot, MBA, author, charismatic and dynamic speaker on leadership Shannon Huffman Polson tells powerful stories of highly successful women military leaders, including herself, illuminating the crucial leadership principles and practices that led to their success.
- A powerful leadership book about women and (primarily) for women
- Demonstrates leadership lessons through author’s first-hand experience in the Army--as one of the first female F16 pilots
- Fascinating, engaging, inspiring stories
- Very current, fits with the post-#MeToo moment
- Clear, compelling lessons drawn from the experience of the subject women leaders
- Stories and lessons set within context of current research.
Audience: Broad audience of leaders and managers in both private and public organizations; general intelligent audience interested in leadership and the military; most readers will be women.
"…an intelligent and informative book on leadership authored by an inspiring woman is an essential addition to one's library.” — School Administrator (AASA)
Bronze Medal Winner for Best Women/Minorities in Business Book in the 2021 Axiom Business Book Awards
"… it will help inform leaders at any level who want to build strong inclusive cultures within their organizations." — Army magazine
"The book draws together both Huffman Polson's experience and that of other high ranking women in the US military. Together their insights form an easy to follow structure that allows any current or aspiring female leader to understand what really drives them and build confidence and resilience." — Financial Times
Advance Praise for The Grit Factor:
"If you aspire to become an outstanding leader, this book is a must-read." — Amy McGrath, Lieutenant Colonel, US Marine Corps, Retired; candidate (2020), US Senate (D – KY)
"I wish the working world was such that we didn't need The Grit Factor, but we do need it. With a jillion books out there on leadership, this one is truly one of a kind, a giant and unique step forward. I can imagine it dramatically changing thousands of lives. And though men are not the primary audience, we can all learn from the amazing stories and practical steps laid out here in plain English. Bravo, Shannon Polson!" — Tom Peters, coauthor, In Search of Excellence
"Shannon Polson's story and the stories of the remarkable military women she profiles, as well as the essential leadership principles and techniques these stories illustrate, will inspire and instruct new generations of leaders in any context. A must-read." — General Charles C. Krulak, US Marine Corps, Retired, 31st Commandant of the Marine Corps
"With compelling and page-turning stories of resilience and adaptability, The Grit Factor is a groundbreaking book about women who took on the stereotypes and blew right past them. Practical, accessible, and inspirational, this is the leadership book we've been waiting for." — Sydney Finkelstein, professor, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth; bestselling author, Superbosses; host, The Sydcast
"The hard truth is that we have a long way to go before women are treated equally, at work and elsewhere. Until then, we need The Grit Factor. Shannon Polson has it, and she showcases it in the inspiring and instructive stories of these amazing women leaders." — Tina Morris, Chief Operating Officer, S&P Global Ratings; US Army veteran
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