In 1937, when he was just 20-years-old and a junior at Harvard, John F. Kennedy stepped in front of his classmates and delivered a speech about one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's recent Supreme Court nominations.

After he finished, his teacher graded his performance: C+.

Maybe the teacher found fault with Kennedy's speaking style (which you can listen to here thanks to the recent discovery of a recording of it). Or perhaps he didn't think Kennedy had supported his arguments with sufficient evidence.

We'll never know the real reason the professor gave him a C+, of course. But we do know that this student, who earned a C+ in a public speaking course at Harvard, went on to become one of the world's great orators.

I cite this example because it highlights one of the reasons why I believe grades are not the best indicator of a student's talents and skills, nor are they a good predictor of their future success in the workplace, or in life in general.

Several studies have shown that performance at school, as measured by grades and scores on standardized tests, does not correlate with success after graduation. "IQ offers little to explain the different destinies of people with roughly equal promises, schooling, and opportunity," Daniel Goleman writes in his best-seller, Emotional Intelligence. "When 95 Harvard students from the classes of the 1940s were followed into middle age, the men with the highest test scores in college were not particularly successful compared to their lower-scoring peers in terms of salary, productivity or status in their field, nor did they have the greatest life satisfaction, nor the most happiness with friendships, family and romantic relationships."

And with the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the skills that students need to learn to find a job and be successful is changing fast. In a recent HBR article, Ed Hess, a professor at the University of Virginia's Darden Graduate School of Business, argues that in the AI age, our definition of "smart" will be completely transformed. Since we won't have much of a chance against supercomputers that can calculate far faster than our brains could possibly, we'll need to rely on completely different ways for humans to add value.

"The new smart will be determined not by what or how you know but by the quality of your thinking, listening, relating, collaborating, and learning. Quantity is replaced by quality. And that shift will enable us to focus on the hard work of taking our cognitive and emotional skills to a much higher level," Hess argues.

A 2016 Pew Research Center survey backs up Hess's argument. They asked technologists, scholars, strategic thinkers and education leaders to weigh in on the likely future of workplace training. "Many of the experts discussed in their responses the human talents they believe machines and automation may not be able to duplicate, noting that these should be the skills developed and nurtured by education and training programs to prepare people to work successfully alongside AI. These respondents suggest that workers of the future will learn to deeply cultivate and exploit creativity, collaborative activity, abstract and systems thinking, complex communication, and the ability to thrive in diverse environments."

So what should universities and graduate schools do about grades? Before taking the radical step of eliminating grades altogether, there is an interim measure schools can take: institute a "don't ask, don't tell" grade non-disclosure policy.

More than 20 years ago, when I was in business school, my classmates collectively decided to stop disclosing grades to corporate recruiters. For those of us who had toiled away in our undergraduate years to earn a high GPA, which we believed would increase our chances of gaining admission into a competitive MBA program, this was a truly momentous action, and one that we all embraced enthusiastically.

What it did was simple but powerful: It lifted the burden of having to study for the sake of getting good grades. The elimination of this pressure freed us to focus our energies entirely on learning. It also gave us the courage to take courses in challenging subject areas that we might otherwise have avoided for fear of damaging our GPAs. Some classmates took extra courses simply because they found them interesting and relevant to their career plans.

Our new "don't ask, don't tell" policy of not disclosing grades generated no opposition by the recruiters coming to campus to hire us. None of the companies I interviewed with for either summer jobs after my first year of business school, or for full-time jobs after my second year, asked me what my grades were. And I was under no obligation to tell them, either. I eventually landed a job with my preferred firm, a firm I've been working with ever since.

A couple of months ago, my business school classmates celebrated our 20-year reunion. From what I can tell , the non-disclosure of our grades had no impact on the career trajectories of my classmates. They all seemed to be doing very well, either as senior executives at large and small firms, or as entrepreneurs running their own businesses.

The non-disclosure policy worked well for me and my classmates at business school 20 years ago. It could work for today's students as well.