Did you get good grades?

I love it when recruiters come to business schools and they ask about your GPA. While I think you can tell some good things from that, I don’t think it really merits anything beyond accomplishing assignments – the ultimate predictor of your ability to be a good, obedient corporate monkey.

When A young man earns an Eagle Scout rank, they hold a large ceremony and during such, invite everyone in the room, past and present, who has earned the rank of Eagle to sit in an area called, “The Eagles Nest.” Well, I have been a scoutmaster for quite a few years, and every time we hold one of these and they invite people into the Eagle’s nest, people inevitably ask me, “Peter, aren’t you coming up?”

No, I’m not. I’m not an Eagle scout. Wish I could have been, but I am not.  But the point is that they always say things like, “You’re not?!!!” (act like someone just told you that your best friend that you have known all your life is actually the opposite sex, in-cognito). “I am so surprised – you are like the ultimate scouter – you know everything.” (Not true, by the way).

I get them same thing when people find out I didn’t get good grades in high school. In fact, I had terrible grades.  “You did?!” (again, shocked).  “But you’ve done so well…”

People often look at the success that someone has attained (relative) and think that everything they deem to be successful has happened on the path to the present.

Check out this article about good grades being a predictor of success.

What’s the point for organizations?  Double check your assumptions and base them on research and experience, not on folklore or cultural hand-me-downs. Most importantly, when it comes to managing talent, don’t base your programs on metrics that measure the wrong behaviors. It also means to look at yourself before you terminate poor performance. Chances are, there’s a gem in that employee somewhere, and too bad for you if you don’t uncover it.

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