Yesterday, I binge watched “The Last Dance” on Netflix

I am normally very disciplined in terms of screen time and on a normal day the time spent by me on watching a show or movie does not exceed 90 mins. There are so many things to do in a day that it becomes impossible to spend more than this on entertainment.

But yesterday was a like a perfect storm, break day so no run, only one call of 90 mins and no pressure from wife to clean up the house. So, I ended up watching 10 episodes of 50 minutes each over the course of the day. For those who don’t know about it, “The Last Dance” is the story of the Chicago bulls and their complete dominance of the NBA from 1991 to 1998. Actually, it is the story of Michael Jordon and how he built himself to be arguably the best basketball player of all times.

For an entrepreneur or a leader in a company, these 10 episodes are a treasure house of leadership moments and how to motivate one’s self to perform under any conditions.

 It is tough to pick the best lessons, however, what kept me hooked was the single minded devotion of Michael Jordon to become the best and push his team mates so that the Chicago Bulls became the best team in the NBA winning 6 championships in 8 years.

Michael Jordon comes across as a very competitive individual who wants to win at any cost. In addition to everything else, he would motivate himself to go beyond himself to perform at almost super human standard. And there is a very interesting method that he uses to do so. He constantly looks for situations where he makes it personal with any of the opponents and then uses this ‘perceived slight’ to motivate himself to excel. There are multiple instances of his doing it through the 10 episodes.

However, a few stand out. The first one  is about another player getting the Most Valuable player  (MVP) award before a game and Jordon tells himself that the other player is not as good as him and uses the game to prove in front of 20,000 spectators that Jordon is better, by outplaying the MVP, and in the bargain winning the match for his team. In another instance, Jordon is having a bad day at office and has missed a number of baskets, the Chicago Bulls lose the first match of a 7 match series and the opposing team’s highest scorer tells him “good game Mike”. He takes that as a personal affront and in the next few games he ensures that the highest scorer of opposing team does not score much while Jordon becomes the highest scorer, and the Bulls win the series 4-1

Another instance which I found very interesting was when in one of the finals, the Chicago Bulls lose the first games of the 7 game series and Jordon is eating dinner in a restaurant, the opposing teams coach is there and he ignores Jordon and walks by. Jordon tells himself “so this is how it is going to be?” takes it as a personal affront and goes on play out of his skin to the ensure that his team wins the title.

I found these instances to be a great example of setting up a process to ensure that one is able to reach peak performance day in and day out. As a leader, it is imperative to set up such systems and processes which enable you to perform at the highest level day in and day out so that you and your team is able to stay focused on the task even when things are not going well. These process and support system can help you and your team get through difficult situations.

Taking the same analogy to anyone who wants to be at peak performance day in and day out, all of us need some trigger or process which motivates us to bring in our best game. As a business owner, founder or a professional, what process or trigger are you using?




Mr. Rajiv Misra

R Square Consultancy