It seems as if Big Data is all the rage these days. From being find parking spaces in crowded cities to completely taking the fun out of sports, the use of data is everywhere. Recently I came across a very significant piece of data that is represented by the number 12,345.
12,345. Just on appearance it seems to be an interesting figure. Similar to a straight in poker or any number that makes you wonder the odds of such a number forming, 12,345 is very significant.
Why? Because 12,345 is the exact number of regular season shots that Michael Jordan missed in his career. In fact, he missed more shots than he made. Let's think about this for a minute. Arguably the greatest basketball player ever missed more shots than he made. He didn't just miss a few, he missed thousands.
He once stated that, "I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Yes, Michael Jordan worked and practiced tirelessly. Yes, he did possess physical skills and abilities that enabled him to run and jump higher than others. But maybe the biggest thing he possessed was the ability to look the fear of failure in the eye and stare it down. As a freshman in college he hit the game winning shot of the 1982 NCAA basketball tournament when he was only 19 years old. Insert your own millennial or 'kids today' example here.
Are your employees asking for the ball in crunch time or passing it to someone else? While there may be value in both, if you want a truly innovative culture everyone has to feel like he or she can take that shot - without fear. Fear of 'what were you thinking?' Fear of 'that was stupid' Fear of all of the nonsense that has people backing away from even the slightest risks and, most of all, taking the big shot.
Can you have a truly innovative culture without taking risks? I think MJ would say no.