Marcus Butt—Ikon Images via Getty Images
By Ellen McGirt
Updated: January 18, 2018 2:47 PM ET

Fortune’s future-of-work cover package hits the web today, which includes my latest story, Grit Is The New MBA, about how smart employers are ditching referrals, fine-tuning interviewing and recognizing real potential in “non-traditional” talent. It was beautifully edited by my colleague Matt Heimer and joins Geoff Colvin’s take on how to prepare for the next hiring boom.

We throw the word “grit” around quite a bit, so it was also an opportunity to reclaim and reframe the word:

Grit isn’t a panacea. Unless carefully considered, the search for grit can become a check-the-box diversity exercise of its own: Without thoughtful efforts to find strong candidates and create environments that support them, it’s doomed to disappoint. (It can also fuel ugly stereotypes in which success for the downtrodden depends on charity from white saviors.) That’s why Fortune recommends a reframing: Think of grit less as an antidote to a hard-knock life and more as an ongoing quest to master life complexity—an experience all of us share. When recognition of that complexity shapes hiring, it opens transformative opportunities to people from groups underrepresented in top professions: ethnic minorities, stay-at-home parents, working-class kids, veterans. And in a world locked in a tight global battle for talent, it helps companies find people who are resilient and creative in the face of obstacles.

I spoke to a wide variety of experts, employers, advocates, and working professionals, all gritty in their own, unique ways. Better still, all are committed to identifying, amplifying and utilizing the grit they see in others. As we all should be.

As always, not every quote made it on the page, so expect lots of grit talk and good advice in raceAhead next week.

We end on a particularly emotional note: Embracing the potential of others involves truly listening to them while sharing your own unique journey. As Jopwell’s Porter Braswell notes, “none of this is rocket science.” And yet, authentic leadership can be so hard. That’s why the work matters.

Please share it with colleagues and let me know what you think.


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