social entrepreneurship, Startups

Realization: CEO’s Aren’t Like Michael Jordan, They’re More Like Phil Jackson

I was thinking about my past two years heading NextDrop, and ways I could really take my game to the next level.  I knew that there was something fundamentally off in the way I was thinking about my role, but I couldn’t figure it out.  When I started NextDrop, I was the only employee and therefore had to spend my time doing most of the operational work- we just needed to get it done. Now that we’ve built out our team, I have been feeling a bit lost, because the team is doing the work that I used to do (and doing a much better job at it!).  I have been fundraising for the past few months, so that’s taken up most of my time, but since I see the end in sight, I’ve realized I need to figure out what my role is.  And as I was reading this great book on toughness, I figured out what that fundamental thought shift was.  I have built out the roster- the whole team is set.  I need to go from trying to be Michael Jordan, to trying to be Phil Jackson.

The Bulls from 1984-1988 were decent- they hadn’t really built out their squad yet, but Jordan was basically carrying the team (because lets face it, that coaching staff couldn’t handle him and didn’t really know what to do with his talents).  They did all right for themselves, but nothing spectacular. But it wasn’t until Phil Jackson came in 1989, they started building out their squad, and the team that they had built started working cohesively together, that the magic happened.  It started with their championship in 1991, and then, well, I think everyone knows the rest.

You did all right with just Michael Jordan, and you do need a Michael Jordan in the beginning.  But in order to transform a company from good to great, I realized that you always need a Phil Jackson.

I think it’ll be a fun transition, going from channeling my inner Michael Jordan to my inner Phil Jackson.

I guess I should start reading up on my zen.

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