Episode 257 — Jason Hehir — Leading and Documenting Winning Teams

In the realm of business and sports, the parallels are striking. Both arenas demand strong leadership, cohesive teamwork, and unwavering dedication to a common goal.

Jason Hehir, the mastermind behind the groundbreaking documentary series The Last Dance, offers unique insights into this dynamic. Through chronicling Michael Jordan’s extraordinary career, Hehir not only captured tales of triumph and defeat but also lived them firsthand.

In this captivating episode of The Game Changing Attorney Podcast, Jason joins Michael Mogill to explore:

  • Evolving from a novice to a leader and navigating the ensuing complexities
  • The transformative power of embracing a healthy fear of failure
  • Discovering the importance of cultivating your authentic voice for personal and professional success
Episode 257 — Jason Hehir — Leading and Documenting Winning Teams
Show Notes:

Embrace fear and thrive together. “The ideal person you want on your team is someone who has a fear of failure. There are certain unteachable things, and that’s one of them. You can’t teach someone to want to pick up the person next to you and want to deliver because if you don’t, the person next to you will be burdened with what you didn’t do. You want a team member that you want to spend time with and go get a beer with after work. It’s important to find like-minded people who share your passions and have their own creative voice.”

Lead with clarity. “Everyone has a role, and it’s the team leader’s job to put people in the right place in order to succeed and to let them know exactly what’s expected of them. I wasn’t always good at that because I didn’t always have bosses who were good at that. They were more under the impression that a good employee was one that you didn’t have to direct. I think that’s bullshit. It’s not fair, and though I was lucky enough to make it through by improvising, a leader owes it to anyone to let them know what to do, when to do it, and other basic parameters to follow.”

Tender giant. “I think one of the most emotional parts of the André the Giant documentary was knowing the fact that no matter who you are, you have a mom who adores you. To André’s mom, that was her little boy, despite how gigantic he was. All she really wanted was for him to be comfortable and safe. She had this chair built specially for him so that he could sit with their family at the dinner table. So when people say the documentary was sad, I hope they mean that it was heartfelt, because that’s how I saw it while filming.”

Patience pays off. “There are no shortcuts. That comes with learning your trade, learning by mistake, and finding your voice. Filming The Last Dance was my last opportunity to delegate, coach, and put people in the right positions. One of my greatest shortcomings was my lack of patience, and though it did teach me how to edit film, it isn’t a great quality to have. I’m sure that rubbed editors in training the wrong way. It made me a better leader in the long run, which is what helped make The Last Dance so successful.”

Creative conviction. “Michael Jordan’s people came to me after reading my 14-page outline for The Last Dance and said, ‘Do you think this can be just the footage from 1998, with no interviews, just footage?’ I told them no. That’s when I thought this documentary wasn’t going to happen, because if I said yes to them, I knew that couldn’t happen. As badly as I wanted the job, it didn’t look promising. I knew we needed current interviews to make the story work, and it needed to be about more than just the 1998 Chicago Bulls season.”

Meeting MJ. “If and when this first meeting with Michael Jordan took place, will he think I’m a kiss-ass for wearing Jordans? Will he be offended if I’m not? I didn’t know what kind of guy he was. So I decided to go agnostic and wore the only suit I owned and paired it with dress shoes and knew he couldn’t get mad at what I was wearing.”

Perfect timing. “I am acutely aware of why The Last Dance took hold culturally the way it did, because we were all so starved for original entertainment and sports. At the moment, we literally had a captive audience since people were stuck in their homes. I’m very proud of the way it was made and proud of our entire team for bringing it together. I also understand that it had an exponentially larger footprint than I think any of us could have imagined.”

Get the job done. “I almost never get feedback from the leads in my documentaries, and that’s okay because my job isn’t to be their lifelong friend. If it happens, that’s great, but it usually occurs more with people behind the scenes than the icons themselves. Getting the opportunity to tell their story is an honor in and of itself.”

What does it mean to be a game changer? “Being a game changer means finding your own voice and inspiring others to do the same.”


André the Giant (documentary)
The Last Dance (documentary)
Michael Jordan
Jordan (brand)
Jalen Rose

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