There’s no doubt that motivational tactics have long been deployed by the world’s most iconic leaders, CEOs and, of course, athletes. And there’s perhaps no better testament to the latter than the cult-favorite docuseries The Last Dance. The ESPN masterpiece gives a definitive account of the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty through the lens of the final championship season in 1997-98, and NBA fans and novices alike are tuning in to pick up timeless lessons with each episode that airs. So, what have we learned thus far from the team’s unmatched drive in Jordan’s final season? Let’s dive in below.
Don’t wait — get to work now.
After losing two consecutive playoffs against the Detroit Pistons, the Bulls went home and got right to work. This — mixed with everything that’s going on in the world right now — has taught us that there’s simply no time to waste. The Bulls picked themselves back up, dialed in on their weaknesses and figured out what they needed to do to come out on top the next time around.
Not only that, they worked on fine-tuning their strengths to double up on their chances for success. No matter what industry or phase of life you’re in, there’s something to take away from this unflappable dedication — it’s to not sit around and wait for luck to have its way. Get to work.
Strive to grow individually and as a team.
Another absolutely critical takeaway from The Last Dance is to seek both individual and collective growth — a lesson that we hold very near and dear to our hearts on the Smith & Berg Partners team, as you can imagine. To put it simply, one cannot occur without the other. When striving to better yourself, you’re inevitably propelling others forward — and vice versa.
Whether you’re a sports fan or not, you can surely appreciate Jordan’s ability to get the most out of his teammates, even if he was a hard-ass. It’s a tricky illustration of leadership, but many of his teammates to this day admit that Jordan’s incredibly high standards are what made them better as individuals and steered them to collaborative triumph.
Don’t let ego get in the way.
Believe it or not, The Last Dance isn’t coaching you on everything you should do to come out on top in life. In fact, there’s a whole lot of what you shouldn’t do. Take Jerry Krause, for instance. He was remarkable at his job. He traded for Scottie Pippen, added John Paxson and Steve Kerr, brought on Dennis Rodman. These are all great things, of course, but here’s the kicker — he wanted all of the credit.
No matter what industry you’re in, it’s crucial to do your job because you love it and truly care — not because you want to rack up the accolades. True success is rooted in your ability to be seen when you assume no one’s watching — not scrambling for recognition when people are looking straight at you. So, what we thought would be a docuseries to Be like Mike was actually one to notBe like Jerry Krause. Let that sink in.
What have been your major takeaways from The Last Dance? How are you applying it to your life? We could go on and on, so shoot us an email (pun slightly intended) and let’s chat.