A Joker as CEO

If you don’t watch the NBA, you may not know who Nikola Jokić is (often called “The Joker”). He plays for the Denver Nuggets and is arguably the best player in basketball as I write this. Although his game is impressive, as a fair-weather basketball fan, I find his persona even more so.

He isn’t a brilliant orator (in English anyway, which is his second language), doesn’t seek headlines or adoration, eschews social media, is willing to take abuse in support of the team, and is just as likely to assist someone else rather than score himself. 

Because of his work ethic, team focus, and humble approach, the team is better. They have a talented coach, but Jokić as a team member and informal leader makes them all much stronger.

Contrast this profile with that of the rock star CEO. Steve Jobs and Elon Musk have done some wonderful things, but they’re black swans; anyone with an IQ of less than 200 would be ill-advised to try to lead like they do. Most CEOs with hubris make poor leaders. Their high IQ doesn’t cover up their low EQ. Their seeming ability to have all the answers just means they have a bunch of sycophants on their team, with little management talent themselves. 

Judge yourself by the team you build, the results you achieve, and the value you add to the world—not by the headlines you receive. Be a Joker!

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