Growing into the future, part 1: Growing FASTER How Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls went from mediocrity to a dynasty by growing faster — and how your organization can apply the lessons they learned.


One beautiful morning back in 1985, I strutted down the hallways of Schaumburg High School, rocking a brand-new pair of original Air Jordan basketball shoes — the black and red ones. I was SO. FRESH.

Back then, Michael Jordan was skinny and lanky. He even had hair. He was a star, for sure, but as I grew up and watched him with friends, the playoffs were always a crushing moment of defeat.

It took until the 87/88 season to even get to the second round. And then, the Cavs took us out. That’s ok, as it would come back to haunt them the next year by inspiring Jordan to literally float above Craig Ehlo and sink a gorgeous, game-winning shot in the final second.

But that glorious moment was short-lived. It took another two years to make it to the Finals. But when Jordan and the Bulls finally did make it there, they took the trophy home six times in eight years.

How did they do it? Let’s find out.

In this three-part series, we’re going to focus on what your organization can learn from Jordan and the Bulls’ transformation from a team that rarely made the playoffs into a dynasty.

They did it by:

First, Jordan had to get used to a faster-paced game, then he had to get stronger. But ultimately, he and the organization had to think enterprise-wide to grow smarter. Turns out, even with the undisputed greatest player in basketball history, you still need a team to win.Speed

Do you feel the need for speed?

In 1982, Jordan allegedly ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash. To put that into perspective, in 2020, only four prospective National Football League (NFL) players ran times faster than that. Jordan was even faster than some of the biggest names in the NFL today.

So, he was fast before he got to the National Basketball Association (NBA). But, in college, he was playing a slower-paced game. Overall, there are more possessions per game in the NBA. The NBA also plays four 12-minute quarters, while the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) plays two 20-minute halves. Therefore, NBA players are more rested and ready to rock.

Then there’s the shot clock. You have 35 seconds to take a shot in the NCAA, but only 24 in the NBA.

It’s a lot like that in the business world. Some organizations have been around for decades, or even longer. They might still rely on manual processes or code-heavy applications, so they have trouble keeping up with the pace of the game. They think they have more time than they do to take their shots. Meanwhile, customers who have grown accustomed to instant everything have already left the stadium.

It’s kind of like having a slow player cover Jordan. Even if he happens to be a wonderful human being who is trying his best, it’s not a good strategy for long-term success.

Just ask the Cavs.

So, how can you compete with established organizations that have been dominating the league for years, that have advanced digital transformation strategies and continuously invest in the latest technology? But at the same time, how do you steal the ball from startups who are increasingly born digitally, leapfrogging from adolescence into the pros?

One way to get the speed you need is to use low-code development.

Low-code development platforms

low-code development

Low code is an approach to application development that leverages visual design elements — such as drop-down menus and checkboxes — to empower you to quickly and easily develop, change, and deliver business applications.

This powerful capability allows your organization to circumvent lengthy development cycles and rigid legacy systems to rapidly stand up new business applications that meet immediate business needs, says Tony Piunno, low-code specialist at Hyland.

Low-code development offers many benefits, but most importantly, it brings the speed you need to succeed at the new pace of business. With the right low-code platform, you use rapid application development to quickly develop new solutions. You put solutions to business problems into the hands of users as issues emerge.

This ability to develop or quickly adapt existing applications is a game-changing approach to digital business. It’s simple, effective, and transformational.

In fact, low code is “table stakes for a digital organization,” according to a Frost & Sullivan report.

The next level

Jordan was fast. And he was an all-star. But he wanted something more.

He wanted to win.

So, his first move was to get used to the speed of the NBA. Then, he took his agility and raised the speed of his game to a new level. He would cut so quick, with or without the ball, he would leave defenders guarding a ghost.

If that sounds like how you want your business to operate, right now is the time to invest in low code. Because in business, there is no off-season.

In part 2 tomorrow, we’ll look at how Jordan grew stronger in the early 90s, giving him the ability to battle the big boys in the paint, glide over their heads on the way to the rim, or hang in the air like he’s in the matrix.

Did shaving his head help? We’ll find out.

Scoop Skupien

Scoop Skupien is a former radio station mascot. A rabbit, if you really want to know. These days, he’s a content marketing manager at Hyland, as well as the editor... read more about: Scoop Skupien

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