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Grit Is The New College Degree

I was reading an article on hiring practices over the weekend, and it was talking about hiring practices both old and new, and the article rang a bell with me in a number of ways, the first being the discussion on Grit. But to take it a little deeper, I have the privilege of interacting with a good number of college kids and I love to talk to them, find out who they are, where they are from, and what they want to do. And in these conversations over the years, I have found increasingly many of them are headed back for their master’s, or going to get their masters. And our education system is flawed in that it places so much emphasis on “more degrees equals more success”. But what they really mean to say is “more degrees equal more money in their pockets to pay fat wages to profs and administration that don’t earn that kind of wage”. More degrees are noble, but please just make sure they “matter”, truly hold value, and don’t just lead to more knowledge, but lead to more action.

None the less, we must help people understand completely that a degree or more degrees hold no value unless you mine them fully. And that given the crisis in the workforce today, excellent employers with teams of go-getters likely aren’t hiring based on a degree, an SAT score, the college you went to, your major, or your resume. We are hiring based on Grit, Potential, Humility, Hunger, Chemistry, Passion, Communication, Self-Awareness, and a desire to Serve. We have hired over 7 or 8 veterinarians, and I have yet to ask for a resume, and have most all of them ask, “Would you like a copy of my resume?” And I tell each of them, “No, what does it matter?” What they don’t know until they “come into our fold”, is that we don’t care what is on a piece of paper, we care what is in their heart, mind, and soul. In the interview process, we try our very best to “peel the orange”, find out about them and their family, how they were raised, where they were raised, what do their brothers and sisters do, what their parents taught them growing up, when they first started working, what kind of friends they have, who they hang out with and what do they do, what their friends do, etc. Then we peel the orange deeper and work in our conversation to have them tell us what sets their soul on fire, what makes them pop out of bed and want to “kill it that day”, what makes their heartbeat race, (if they can’t answer these, don’t hire!), and just what it is they want to do in life.

Key points being, Rockstar employers are looking for Rockstar team members, and Rockstar employers aren’t looking at resumes anymore. I haven’t looked at one in over 12 years. Hiring based on SAT scores, GPA, degrees, majors, or a college is not predictive of job performance or success. What is predictive of success is grit, potential, hunger, passion, humility, vulnerable honesty, self-awareness, and a “damn the torpedo” spirit! We can’t let our learning lead to knowledge. We must let our learning lead to action! And we need our college profs and all those in education to pick up this torch, bear it, take action, and teach it. Shout out to my College Prof friends Dan Thomson, Broc Sandelin, and Lee Jones who carry the torch well! My mom taught for 39 years, and I’ll bet if you ask any single one of her students if she taught on those things, each one of them would say, “Yes she did, almost daily!”

So find your GRIT! We are looking for it! We need it! The entire world needs it! You need it for your success!! Happy Leadership Thursday!! Grit your teeth and get it done!!

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