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LeBron James shows us how to be better recruiters

April 2nd, 2013 No comments

This Grantland article caught my attention enough to write (and keep) a cringe-worthy title to this post. It’s a typically wonky, well-written piece breaking down how dramatically LeBron’s game has changed in the nearly 3 years since he left Cleveland for Miami.

I can’t go any further before I clearly say that I will in no way be comparing myself (or my talents, as they were) to LeBron James. Instead I was struck by how unrecognizable LeBron’s game is today compared to his last season in Cleveland. Read the article if you’re interested in the sports geek details. For the purposes of this post I’ll just say that he changed from a perimeter player, to a post-up player, to a combination of the two. Meanwhile, his Heat won a championship, and he won his 4th MVP.

What connected this article to my new job (sourcer at Amazon, since you asked) is how rarely we break down our work the way LeBron has broken down his game–especially when it comes to finding talent. We are perfectly content to ship LinkedIn Inmails like so many 3 point shots, finding odd ways to justify this tactic even when candidates don’t respond. Meanwhile there’s a wily veteran that could show us a post up move or two if just stopped to ask.

My favorite part of the Grantland article is the last paragraph

Simply put, LeBron James remains both the NBA’s most valuable and its most versatile player. He is acutely aware of his own game and his team’s strategy. He continues to find new ways to integrate his own evolving talents with those of his teammates, and he makes everyone better in the process. While it’s simple to label James a physical freak with outrageous basketball talents, that sells his progress, work ethic, and intelligence short. LeBron James is a basketball nerd who just happens to possess once-in-a-generation talent.

We can’t all have once in a generation talents, but we can be self-aware and self-critical enough to reinvent our work every chance we get.