Mr Doug Strycharczyk

Doug Strycharczyk is the CEO of AQR International. Founded in 1989, AQR is a leading OD consultancy working in more than 80 countries. Doug has worked in the Gulf region for many years with many significant organisations.

Doug has worked with Professor Peter Clough and Dr John Perry to define mental toughness and to create the world’s leading measure of mental toughness.

Doug has been instrumental in the development of the 8 factor model of mental toughness which brings together resilience and positivity, providing an insight into how both can interplay to provide an explanation for the way people and organisations function. It has particular significance in coaching and in positive psychology.

Doug is now recognised as a leading authority on the application of mental toughness to the worlds of work, education and sport. It has particular significance in coaching and mentoring and in positive psychology.

Doug's areas of expertise include:

Development of Psychometric Tests and Development Programmes

Senior Management/Leadership Development

Development of Young People and the Education Sector

An important element of AQR’s work is ensuring that its instruments and concepts are theoretically sound and well evidenced.

Ultimately, his work is focused on helping organisations and individuals “to be the best they can be”, in a way that enhances well-being and a positive approach to life.

Doug holds a first class honours degree in Economics. He has completed work on a PhD which is taking the Mental Toughness concept and measure to the next level.


Doug has authored, amongst others;

“Developing Mental Toughness” (2021) (Kogan Page) with Dr John Perry and Professor Peter Clough

With colleagues, Professors Peter Clough and Tony Wall and Dr John Perry Doug has contributed two chapters on Mental Toughness to the Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Good Health and Well-Being (Springer)


Mental Toughness: Placing resilience in context to create a "lens" shedding new insights on key issues in people development

Mental Toughness is a concept long understood to be important in people and organisation development.

It is a personality trait which describes how we respond mentally to stress, pressure, opportunity and challenge. Linked to meta-cognition, it explains in part how we think when events occur around us. In turn this helps us to understand why we behave the way we do.

With a provenance stretching back to Plato’s Fortitude and the Stoics, recent research carried by Dr Perry, Doug Strycharczyk and Professor Clough identified 8 factors which combine to create a picture of mental toughness and mental sensitivity.

These factors are closely related to

Resilience – our ability to recover from an adverse situation and

Positivity – our approach to life – seeing threat or opportunity in situations.

This allows us to consider resilience in a wider context than just a survival strategy. The interplay with positivity explains how we can do more – how we can prosper, first explored by Suzanne Kobasa in her work on Hardiness.

This granularity, the multidimensionality of Mental Toughness, is important and very useful to the practitioner and the researcher alike.

Firstly, there are many approaches exploring this area. The mental toughness concept has a capability to explain approaches such as mindset, grit, resilience, attitude, positive psychology, etc in one overarching concept.

Secondly, and very important from the practitioner’s and the leader’s perspective, the framework appears to work well as a “lens” through which other ideas, important for good practice in people can be understood – and how these play out to resilience and mental toughness.

The eight factors can examine issues such as leadership, teamworking, trust, psychological safety, curiosity, innovation, etc in a way that sheds new light and understanding on each and from more than one perspective. Doing so in a way that enables the connections between those issues to be understood too.

Usefully, a by-product of the research was the development of a psychometric measure – the MTPlus – which brings a capability for diagnosis and for evaluation to an aspect of personality otherwise very difficult to assess reliably.

The mental toughness concept is an “enabler” bring a capability to understand the complexity of human behaviour in an accessible way.

Attendees will:

Learn what mental toughness

Participate in an exercise which illustrates its application

Be able to discuss with those already using the concept the potential applications of the concept and the associated measure


Mr Doug Strycharczyk