Our 6-Ingredient recipe inspired by Michael Jordan and ESPN’s The Last Dance
“I want to be like Mike.”
Where did your mind go after reading that?
If I had to bet, I’d say that you’ve been transported back to a younger you – wide-eyed, messy-haired, with a head full of big dreams. A version of you that can jump higher than anyone, hear the crowd roaring your name, and imagine your face on cereal boxes across the world – all made possible by drinking an all-mighty bottle of Gatorade.
Unfortunately, as we eventually learned, we didn’t turn into the best basketball player of all time by religiously guzzling down orange-flavored sugar water. We realized it took so much more than that.
The same goes for business. If there was a magic potion business leaders could drink to make their products and services be the best of the best, we would’ve seen it on Shark Tank years ago. All things that are considered the best (not second best, not top ten…but actually THE best), must have each of these 6 ingredients. It’s a no-fail recipe.
Michael Jordan wasn’t born the greatest basketball player of all time, but he was born with the natural ability to become it. He had the divine ingredient that cannot be taught or replicated. In business, branding, or product, this humanistic natural ability equates to the idea. The idea either has potential or it doesn’t. But when the idea is born, even if it has the potential to create world peace, if it doesn’t have the other 5 ingredients added afterward, it remains only that – an idea.
If you think MJ’s road was easy because of his natural talent, you are severely mistaken. On the contrary, he lived with a basketball in his hand since he was a youngster (except the 21mths where he chose a baseball mitt instead – hey, the grass always seems greener). His entire life revolved around being the best at the sport and without being 100% devoted, dedicated, and driven at all times, he would’ve never gotten there and stayed there for the totality of his career. He eventually became so confident, feared, and respected on the court, that he invented fictional challenges that affected him personally in order to make sure he was always pushing harder than the game before. With business, brand, and product, devotion is an absolute necessity if you want it to be the best. The journey to the top does not happen overnight or lightly. It takes a leader’s near-obsession with success. And if you are already at the top and allow yourself to fall asleep, even for a minute, your competitor will advance…and your time of being the best is over in just the blink of an eye.
The Right Time & Place
To be the best, there is definitely logistical planning involved, but there is also an element of chance and fate. Would Jordan have become the best if he waited another year to join the NBA? What about if he joined immediately after high school instead of going to the University of North Carolina? If either of those two things happened, he might not have been drafted by the Bulls. He then inherently wouldn’t have gotten to play for the team that supported his growth, complemented his style, and helped develop his skills. He wouldn’t have been part of the infamous Pippen, Rodman, Jordan trio. If you launch a product too soon, the world may not be ready for it. If you launch it too late, you’ll either be behind in an already-crowded market or the moment of demand passed and your product is no longer relevant. If you launch a brand on the wrong platforms, you’ll be speaking to communities who don’t need what you’re selling. In short, timing and placement is everything.
Some might call this the secret ingredient in the recipe to be the best. There are a bazillion work out plans, diet subscriptions, and basketball advice blogs online but you won’t find Michael Jordan following them. He didn’t rise to the top by doing the same thing everyone else was doing. Like all the best athletes, he understood that his body was different and therefore required a personalized training program to maximize what he was born with. Once he reached a certain point in his career, Michael hired Tim Grover as his personal trainer to customize every detail of his routine around consistent performance at his personal peak. Tim designed the perfect solution for Michael’s individual body, taking the time to learn every fiber of his being and using science to enhance it naturally.
At Gallardo Labs, we see ourselves as the personal trainers and our partners– the companies, their brand, products, and services, as Michael Jordan. So you want to be like Mike? Our job is to create that plan and then implement it with you. We don’t promise that it’ll be easy. Quite the opposite. It’ll be a lot of hard work for both of our teams. One can’t succeed without the other.
Similar to health and fitness, you will find countless cookie-cutter templates for eCommerce websites, pyramid schemes promising overnight growth, digital strategy advice blogs that often contradict themselves, and cheap design companies who claim to have the one-size-fits-all golden solution. But if you want to be the best, eventually you will need to invest in your own personal trainer who can strategically design and create a customized solution that will solve your unique problem.
There is no magic formula to being number one.
Grit and moxie are more important than ever right now. When Michael got cut from the high school varsity team, he practiced tirelessly over the summer and came back to become the best player his high school had ever seen. Whenever he lost a game, it fueled him to win 10 more. When he lost a championship, he was in the gym the next day while everyone else was on vacation. His losses pushed him to win.
When times are tough with business, especially now as we all collectively hold our breath for the post-pandemic world, instead of giving up, you persevere. Those of us that continue to work harder towards our goals now while the rest of the world is on pause are the ones that’ll come back to slam-dunk and win the championship in the end.
We get it. Leading a business, team, or product is no small feat and if you’re like us, and have set the goal of being the absolute best, it can seem overwhelming and near impossible. However, with the 6 ingredients listed above, it is a guarantee.
If you have a business, brand, or product design challenge that you are currently working on, we’d love to talk about it with you and help identify which ingredients you already have and which you still need. As seen with everything in life from raising a baby to becoming the best basketball player of all time, true success requires a village. And that village is us.
In the meantime, if you haven’t already seen it, go watch it now (on ESPN). The Last Dance will not only show you how this recipe plays out IRL, but it’ll also give you the motivation to start making that head full of big dreams of yours, come true.