The Grit Factor: Courage, Resilience, and Leadership in the Most Male-Dominated Organization in the World (Hardcover)

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Push through the pushback.

At age nineteen, Shannon Huffman Polson became the youngest woman ever to climb Mt. McKinley. A native of Alaska, she went on to reach the summits of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Kilimanjaro and spent more than a decade traveling the world. Yet it wasn't until she joined the military, as one of the Army's first female attack helicopter pilots, and went on to lead platoons on deployment to Bosnia-Herzegovina, that she learned the secrets of leadership that changed her forever.

Where did these insights come from? From her own crucibles of experience--and from other women. Polson made it her mission to become acquainted with an elite pack of tough, impressive female iconoclasts who shared their candid stories of combat and career. This decorated cast of characters includes Heather Penney, one of the first female F-16 pilots who was put on a "suicide mission" for 9/11; General Ann Dunwoody, first female four-star general in the Army; Marine Commander Amy McGrath, first woman to fly the F/A-18 in combat and a 2018 Congressional candidate--and dozens of other unstoppable women who got there first, including Polson herself.

These women learned to lead at the highest levels in the most complicated, challenging, and male-dominated organization in the world. Now, in the post-#MeToo era, when all women can break through the barriers to lead, and when all of us are looking for inspiration and guidance to change institutional progress, Polson brings these voices together, sharing her own life lessons and theirs with storytelling flair, keen insight, and incisive analysis of current, relevant research.

With relatable takeaways like "your story is your strategy" and "push through the pushback," The Grit Factor is both inspiring and pragmatic, a book that will motivate current and aspiring leaders everywhere--whether male or female.

About the Author

Shannon Huffman Polson served as one of the first women to fly the Apache helicopter in the US Army. Her career as an Army officer and attack aviation leader around the globe spans almost a decade. In addition to her military service, she spent five years leading and managing in the corporate sector, at Guidant and Microsoft. As a dynamic, in-demand speaker, Polson reaches thousands of people a year at major organizations and large public venues on topics related to leadership, courage, resilience, and grit. She and her husband, Peter, have two energetic sons.Author social media/website info:,,,
Product Details
ISBN: 9781633697263
ISBN-10: 1633697266
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Publication Date: September 8th, 2020
Pages: 256
Language: English