Managing ’96 Jordan

Good morning. I have a scenario for you.

If you’re the General Manager of the 1996 Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan says he wants to be paid a reasonable amount more, you have a decision to make. You could a) Pay the man who is taking your team to the championship, or b) Try to fit Scottie Pippen into his role when he leaves.

The thing is, investing in MJ will bring your organization millions of dollars over the next 50 years. Not doing so gives another team those millions. So, as a smart manager, you do the smart thing and pay MJ, let Scottie play the role he’s been playing, and you get another ring. Or, as a less than smart manager, you wait until 2003 for LeBron (closest thing to MJ) to come along and hope you can draft him. (But, as history proves you don’t get him either.)

We all know what happens if you don’t fire Mike. But, if you choose the latter, you’re stuck with a team that is NBA playoff worthy but isn’t ever going to live up to what the 1996 Bulls actually did all b/c you didn’t want to pay a few more dollars that you’d get back 10 fold.

Thankfully that didn’t happen in real life but it happens daily in corporate America. Great employees leave b/c they’re undervalued. It costs a lot less to retain someone than it does to replace them. Remember that.

Pay MJ what he’s worth because you may never get his caliber of employee again.
Make professional development a priority.

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