Mathew McConaughey is known more as a movie star than a philosopher. Yet in an interview with Jon Gordon, I listened to Mathew respond to the question of what drives his standard of performance, rising to an Oscar-winning actor. His response caught me off guard when he replied “embarrassment”. Matthew went on to explain that the question “‘did I bring my best to the table?’ drives a fear of being embarrassed. Not failing. Simply bringing my best to the table. Not stopping until I have delivered all I’m capable of.” He drove his point home by stating people have been mistaken for years; when they stated: “there is no I in team.” Click here for video link


There is an I in team. The team centers around the question did I bring my best, do my best, try my best, accomplish my best. The team thrives when everyone can answer “I did my best.”


Today, the I in each of us is being tested in profound ways as we fight to keep the flywheel in Jim Collins’ book Good to Great spinning. In the recruiting and staffing industry, my best mindset, effort, action, and accomplishment is challenged all day long. As the market constricted, our clients circled the wagons, in many cases both sending employees home while at the same time reducing headcount through furloughs and layoffs. Conversation from “how do I find the talent I need with sub 3% unemployment making successful additions similar to mining diamonds” to “how do I keep productivity moving when my team is disbanded, joined only electronically with occasional zoom meetings?”


The I today has to create your own energy, your own focus as you work from home. Many of us are sharing space with spouses and children, balancing work with homeschooling. The I has to take on the challenge of generating your own energy. Some have asked, “didn’t I have to when I worked in the company office, not my home?” While the answer in most cases was yes, a new dynamic has risen.


For many that I speak to, the home office is not the same vibe as the company office. Zoom meetings and social gatherings (what many are calling happy hour) have created connection while we social distance. You still have to bring the heat.


Taking ownership of measuring the activity you are generating is critical to drive performance. One of the clients I coach shared how a recruiter has added 1000 resumes to their CRM system in the past 6 weeks. That’s bringing the heat. Another has reviewed their key contact list and is systematically reaching out to not just those they’ve served in the past year, but looking for people that previous workloads have not allowed to stay connected. Weekly targets are established and shared with others on the team as their goals and accomplishments.


It’s time to get hyper.


That’s not a word you like to hear with toddlers but it’s critical right now for recruiters and business development professionals. It essential for leaders and those in support roles.


We need to have more than focus, we need hyper-focus. “What are the 3 to 4 things I can do today that will generate the biggest return?” “Who are the key decision-makers I need to reach out to, how can I approach them with a helpful message not pitching for a sale?”


“What talent do I need to reconnect with that before was not open to transition but today may be reevaluating their situation?” “When I connect with a recruit, can I stay hyper-focused on their needs and wants, rather than my clients?”


Meeting and raising performance standards requires hyper planning. “Am I just writing my to-do’s like I would a shopping list?” or “am I investing time to plan to increase my activity, my output that drives my outcome?”


It’s the I that makes the team. Our virtual environment causes more need for I, so that we can be stronger. That we can reach out more, share more, care more. Today we need to reflect on what we are truly capable of. “Am I bringing the best of me to my team?”