When the going gets tough, who toughs it out and who quits? That was a recent study by Wharton School of Business.
The study was “Why top performers quit when the going gets tough.” It looked at a teams’ underdogs and favorites (as they labeled the group…you can easily insert Colors in here…) when things at work got tough, business went down, many adverse situations arose, or a host of other troubles for a team or company.
It turns out that, when things get tough, the favorites are more likely to quit and the underdogs excel. It was actually the opposite results of what the researchers thought would be the outcome!
The study found that favorites often want to avoid the risk of failure, which increases the chance of them quitting by 20%. Their core reason for quitting was the psychological effect of (real or perceived) embarrassment of going from favorite to failure. Quitting can protect their self-esteem and avoid the (perceived) humiliation.
The key point from the paper? It’s hard to have the weight of the world on their shoulders and to always come through to stay as a favorite. The ‘world’ usually bets on the favorite to come through. It might be a safer bet than picking the underdog, but be careful, because there’s more to it than meets the eye.