Leading in crisis? This advice from Michael Jordan may be useful to you

Entrepreneurs should focus on today and think about the day after the coronavirus. For many, it will be possible to emerge from the crisis better, more agile and intelligent, if they adopt the attitude of Michael Jordan.

Stay hyperfocused on the present.

Champion athletes learn from the past, focus on the present, and prepare for the future.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners should adopt the same attitude as they decide what to do next during the coronavirus pandemic. For many, it will be possible to emerge from the crisis better, more agile and intelligent, if they adopt the attitude of Michael Jordan.

Michael Jordan’s documentary, “The Last Dance,” is named after coach Phil Jackson’s unofficial title for his final season with the Chicago Bulls in 1997-1998.

The series lasts 10 episodes. Viewers can see conflicts, struggles, and of course, fabulous behind-the-scenes highlights. They also gain valuable lessons about the mentality of one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.

The first episode takes us to the locker room after the Bulls won their fifth championship (in the previous seven seasons). On November 1, 1997, the packed stadium at Chicago’s United Center was going crazy as the Bulls were introduced for the championship ring ceremony.

Champagne was flowing, fans were screaming and fireworks were exploding. And then came the huddle to start the first home game of the season. Jordan took the lead, gathered the team and said:

“Let’s refocus on this game and do what we did last time.”

Michael Jordan

Jordan wasn’t looking back. He was very focused on winning a sixth trophy. Winning in the future meant putting his all into the game.

The other day I asked a successful CEO how he’s coping with the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Although he continues to pay his employees, he has zero visibility into future earnings. He is optimistic and hopes business will return, but no one knows when the recovery will begin or how strong it will be.

This CEO has a mental advantage. He is almost 60 years old and has survived, and thrived, after several major economic upheavals during his professional career. His advice:

“The best thing you can do is control what you can in the present and manage for the future.”

What are you doing to control the present and manage the future? I have lost count of how many friends, families and colleagues relive their ‘glory days’ about 40 days ago. “My business was going very well”they tell me as their voice fades away.

Mourning the past doesn’t help. It’s wasted energy. Worrying about the future doesn’t help. It’s wasted energy. The only thing you can control is what you are doing now.

Today, plan:

To have a meeting.
Stick to an exercise schedule.
Volunteer to help people in need.
Learn a new skill.
Read a business book.
Check in with a client, not to sell anything, but to ask how they are doing.

«If you are trying to achieve it, there will be obstacles. I have had them; “Everyone has had them.”Michael Jordan once said. «But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you hit a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Find out how to climb it, cross it or avoid it.

Jordan had the same attitude when he came off a success, or a failure. His attitude has rubbed off on a national leader: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“I’m a big Michael Jordan fan,” Cuomo said during a Covid-19 press conference on April 21.

«He (Jordan) is not part of the university team. They hit him in the rear. He was disappointed. What did he do? He worked harder, practiced more. Michael Jordan wasn’t just born. He became the great player that he is.”

Cuomo concluded by applying Jordan’s attitude to those of us who are trying to figure out how to navigate the new world we find ourselves in.

«They hit you in the rear. It will happen”Cuomo said.

“The question is if you stand up, and if you stand up, what kind of person are you, and did you learn from getting knocked on your butt?”

There is another championship in your future. Get ready for that today.