Sports people talked a lot about the NBA draft this past week. A theme coming out of this year’s draft was that it had no superstar talent. Most rationale for this claim was based on the speed, power or size of the athletes. However, I did not hear much talk about an athlete’s Grit. I am not talking about True Grit, the movie. I mean the mental Grit an athlete has that makes them spend countless hours working on a specific skill. See below for examples.
Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls has Grit. During this past NBA season he did not get caught up in the hoopla about his MVP or All Star status. He continued to work on his jump shot and spent several hours watching film so he could improve. Larry Bird was the same way. Utah’s Brother Jimmer Fredette might have it too. He lives on spinach shakes to stay healthy, so that could be a sign he has Grit.
Grit cannot be seen by coaches. They have to experience it by getting to know a player. It is more mental than physical. Athletes with Grit have serious minded qualities. You want to hear more about Grit, check out what ESPN The Magazine says about Grit.
What does recruiting and the NBA draft have to do with each other? Here is the connection. Many times in recruiting I interview people that look big on paper with fancy degrees and blue chip experience. But what often gets overlooked is a candidate’s “gritness”. You can’t Google that word. Basically it means how likely a person is willing to spend countless hours perfecting a skill that will lead them to success in their profession.
Before you hire them find out if they will get down and dirty. Not like down and dirty with sexual advances at the Christmas party. I mean down and dirty like having tough conversations with cranky Stan in Marketing to build support for their work ideas? Will they get up at 3AM to practice a presentation so they can make sure to seal the deal? Find out. Don’t assume their blue chip past experience will lead them to success.
As for gritness for a stay at home Mommy or Daddy, you are in this association too. Here is how. It’s late and you are tired. You just want to put your child to bed so you can check Facebook all night OR watch America’s Got Talent. But instead little Johnny has a rash on his A#$. It will not get better unless you blow dry it. So you go the extra mile and find that energy to chase him around with a blow drier to fix his rash. That’s grit. Nobody will thank you for that. Just your child’s health will be the reward.
It is hard to see Grit. You experience it by really getting to know someone. Unfortunately for you HR pros you usually can’t see it in your scripted legally bound interview questions. You must dig deeper my friend. Get Grity.