What Business Owners Can Learn from Michael Jordan

Even celebrity business owners need to surround themselves with people who bring different perspectives — and are willing to disagree with them, when necessary.  A recent Washington Post article about former basketball superstar Michael Jordan makes this point loud and clear.

The 49-year-old Jordan has many business ventures, including a steakhouse in New York and two more restaurants in Chicago. Nike’s Jordan Brand is bigger than ever. He owns a motorcycle racing team, has a car dealership in Durham, North Carolina, and is still a popular celebrity endorser.

Yet the game’s greatest player also is one of its most curious franchise owners. Two years ago, he became the majority owner of the struggling Charlotte Bobcats, who have a 7-47 record right now.  Before the Bobcats, he was an executive with the Washington Wizards, where he had a brief stint that the Washington Post describes as “dismal.”

According to the article, both friends and critics say one of Jordan’s biggest faults has been surrounding himself with people who are eager to think like him — at least on the management side.

“I don’t know if he has hired enough people around him who he will listen to,” his friend Charles Barkley, the former NBA star, recently said on ESPN radio. “One thing about being famous is the people around you.  You pay all their bills so they very rarely disagree with you because they want you to pick up the check. They want to fly around on your private jet so they never disagree with you.”

Jordan could be starting to look at things differently, however.  Prior to this season, he finally expanded his inner circle to include an outsider:  General Manager Rich Cho, who had the same position in Portland, Oregon.

Here’s the full Washington Post article for those who might like to read it.

About Lynne Strang

I'm a freelance writer who helps organizations and individuals meet their marketing and communications goals. I am also the author of "Late-Blooming Entrepreneurs: Eight Principles for Starting a Business After Age 40." To learn more, please visit my website: lynnebeverlystrang.com.
This entry was posted in Business, Career Changes, Careers, entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Success and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What Business Owners Can Learn from Michael Jordan

  1. deepaksnair says:

    The skills that made Michael Jordan as an unbelievable player did not serve him well as an owner. I find that interesting since I’m of the belief that there is a set of core leadership skills that should be applicable irrespective of the role you are playing.

    • lbstrang says:

      While many professional athletes possess leadership skills, they may lack other abilities and/or traits needed for successful business ownership. Thanks for commenting.

  2. lbstrang says:

    That’s a good example. Another athlete who’s had business success is Chris Evert. A related post is under the January 2012 archives.

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