“She’s not a good fit.”  Fit? That’s an interesting word. It’s a code word, one that’s used to weed out people at work.

There’s a lot of that. And it’s not productive. Or right.

I’ll leap over a lot and just ask you to imagine if we admitted what we mean by “culture” and “fit.” What’s that? It means “people who are just like us.” Most of the time, it’s code for “male and white and single and from the same class and the same schools.”

Some of the best people in your field are NOT male and white and single. They didn’t go to your school. And they’re not in the same socio-economic class. Using this measure, they don’t have a chance. And you know that.

Now imagine that we just get brutal – because we know right from wrong and what really does work and what doesn’t – and just throw out those two words. And what if we start using and applying one word that has meaning and can be used with honesty: values?

The question could be, should be, “Is he in alignment with our values? Using his talents and skills to advance our values and organization?”

This approach opens the door — and should keep it open — to so many more people of all sizes, shapes, ages, skills, temperment, ethnicities and abilities.

It expands the vision of leadership. And, one would hope, it builds better leaders.

Here is a recent piece from Harvard Business Review on fit, culture and values: