I grew up watching 80’s NBA. You know, real basketball…the type with defense and routine fights. I especially enjoyed my trips to the Summit to watch the Houston Rockets, where Hakeem Olajuwon mesmerized me with his combined size and speed. I recall no other player during those years with such athleticism for his size. That said, like most 80’s kids, there was one player who not only blew my mind on the court, but also attracted my attention by his shoes. Michael Jordan launched a new era of basketball by not only being the best player by a long stretch, but also having a shoe by his name. And every kid my age wanted a pair of the most expensive shoes Nike offered - Air Jordans.
Now being a middle schooler and all, I was not exactly swimming in cash. My folks worked hard and paid essential bills and we lived just fine throughout my childhood years. But, Air Jordans were definitely not on a budget line in the Tighe household. And they were over $100. You may not think that sounds like much today, but in 1985, it was a huge deal. To a kid my age, that meant a lot of mowed lawns and cleanings in the garage. Yet, I was determined to lace up all leather red, black and white Jordans.
Like many, my logic was simple for making this purchase. I would wait until they went on sale. All season, I made sure any trip to the mall included a walk-through at Foot Locker. Trip after trip, Air Jordans were in low supply and held their high price tag. They never went on sale. Keeping my form, logic drove me to move to the next strategy - waiting for next season to start and buying last season’s Air Jordans. Not only did this strategy fail to produce kicks on sale, I could barely find a pair in stock. If anything, it meant finding a friend rich enough to have purchased two pairs the season before and offer to buy a pair from him. This strategy failed, as well, as the going rate was easily double. And, I certainly did not have that kind of cash.
I relented and even settled on a pair that did not have the color combo I wanted, and I paid full price. And I wore the soles off those shoes. Every couple seasons through my teenage years, I bought a pair of Air Jordans and loved them. And every time, I paid full price. And you know what? It was worth it.
I share this part of my life for one simple reason. In the workplace, human interaction cannot be discounted. We are immersed in technology, and that technology has some incredible benefits. Technology opens opportunity like never before, and we do well to embrace its offerings. However, I am on a mission to humanize the workplace in the midst of this growing, advanced technology. I believe we must maintain human interaction and do so deeply. We risk so many consequences if we do not remain connected - by sight, by hearing, by touch. We are designed to connect and create community. We are meant for one another, to experience life not only through our own lens, but also through the lens of those with whom we live, work and play. This comes with a cost. Everything good in this life does, in fact. As business owners, employees and contractors, our investment in people must always be paramount. And anything paramount deserves full price.
In what ways might you invest more deeply in people right now? How might they give you the same return as those trusted Air Jordans did for me?
Give me your thoughts!