Michael Jordan, bar none, is the greatest basketball player of all time. He was also a leader, who led his teams, to six NBA championships.
In honor of Black History Month, plus the fact MJ turned the big Five O, February 17th, I thought I’d get an assist from #23 by taking several of his quotes and uncovering a few leadership messages in each one.
“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
What stops most people in regards to the goal is lack of vision. If this piece is missing, you’ll find any reason to quit.
Another missing element is a true purpose that aligns with your “who.” The goal has to mirror your values. There has to be an emotional connection with you and the goal. Once you find this connection, nothing will stop you.
Leaders need to have a shared vision with the rest of the organization. Leaders who do this well, have teams that run through brick walls for them.
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others make it happen.”
Wanting, wishing, hoping, etc. is not enough. My friend, and former boss John use to say, “Don’t rely on the hope strategy.” He’d question me, on a moments notice, my strategy and where we stood with each revenue opportunity.
You’ve got to unequivocally commit. If the project is really important to you, and you’re committed, you’ll find a way. If it’s not important, you’ll find an excuse.
Leaders enable others to act so they can make it happen. They give the team the resources necessary to get the job done, and put them in position to win.
“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”
Commencing a project with zero confidence is like being in the starting gate without a horse. Wasn’t it Henry Ford who said something like, “If you believe you can, or you believe you can’t, you’re probably right.”
As outlined in my workshop, The Leadership Challenge,” great leaders Model The Way. It’s important you demonstrate to the team the behaviors needed to achieve the goal.
The leader must set an example of what’s expected.
“I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot. When you think about the consequences, you always think of a negative result.”
Michael hit hundreds of shots in clutch situations. On the other hand, MJ was entrusted to take the game winning shot and he missed, twenty six times.
What’s special about people like Jordan is, he wants the rock in that situation. In his mind, he’s played the ESPN highlight reel, thousands of times.
What about you? Do you want the ball when the game is on the line? Your teammates know who their “go to” guy is.
The leader needs to demonstrate confidence – when times are good, when times are dismal, and when the game is on the line.
“Everybody has talent. But ability takes hard work.”
I know lots of people with talent. Only a handful are leveraging their full potential.
Sometimes people don’t give their all because they feel entitled. Big mistake. Nothing is going to be given to you. You’ve got to put in the sweat equity and go the extra mile. Do the stuff 99% of the people won’t do.
Think of the leaders you admire. They’re regular people. For the most part, they simply worked their asses off.
“The minute you get away from fundamentals – whether it’s proper technique, work ethic, or mental preparation, the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever you’re doing.”
Whenever I feel myself getting sluggish or sloppy, I always return to the basics. Or what I call, “Blocking and tackling.”
I pick out one or two of my favorite books and read them again. Two things always happen. I either learn something new or gain a high definition perspective of the obvious.
The best leaders check in with the team, ad nauseam, and echo the basics:
- Remind everyone of the bigger end game and review the short term goals.
- Check in to see where we are right now.
- Ask “What do you need from me to succeed?”
So, what are you taking away from this post? What will you put into action this week?
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