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LeBron James and the New Economy Matrix

By Jason Moriber • Jul 30th, 2010 • Category: Analysis

Everybody in Cleveland (and in other places too) is super-upset about LeBron joining the Heat. His decision though is part of a trend-wave that’s been building since we’ve tumbled (nose-dived?) into the recession. People, businesses, organizations have been making tough decisions through the spectrum of what I’m calling the “New Economy” matrix.
Us/Me Matrix

It’s a balance of “Me” and “Us,” mixed with “Valor” and “Grandeur.” Here’s how I define the points on this matrix:
- Me: My responsibility is to myself. It’s about my needs/wants, my brand, and my rewards.
- US: My responsibility is to my company, my market/location, AND myself. How are we all doing?
- Valor: Bravery to take the tougher road, with sacrifice, but for long-term goals.
- Grandeur: Make the biggest splash now for immediate rewards, regardless of path or cost.

Different folks have chosen their seats within this matrix based on their goals, plans, wants and needs. From the outside, we the audience and markets, then grade these folks based on where we ourselves sit within the matrix.

As example, the people of Cleveland wanted LeBron to make his decision based on one side of this matrix. They wanted him to be more “Us” and “Valor,” where he chose, “Me,” and “Grandeur.” They’re obvioulsy upset, maybe less about LeBron himself, and more about the place on the matrix where he chose to make his decision.

LeBron Chose Grandeur

Let’s look at this decision through the eyes of the New Economy…

The Miami Heat are metaphorically a merger/partnership of strong companies with the goal to consolidate a hold on a market. They have diversified their assets (many stars), are increasing their spending, and are focused on one high goal: to be the absolute best in their market. It’s all about them, right now, a big handful of Mes, seeking Grandeur. Plus, the city of Miami isn’t dependent upon LeBron, or the Heat, for their fortune, so the Us factor is muted. The Heat, and their amazing roster of All-Stars, become the team to beat in the league and a favorite to win the title. Could you refuse that situation?

The City of Cleveland, on the other hand, was reliant upon LeBron’s super-stardom to support many aspects of its local economy (a big Us). LeBron is from Ohio, has roots in the community, and could have remained there (maybe title-less like Tony Gwynn in San Diego), but would’ve helped to build the local economy. It could have been an inspirational mythology.

Cleveland was seeking Us/Valor from LeBron, as the city itself is asking its citizens for Us/Valor in the face of tough economic times. LeBron’s decision was incongruent with the local tone, the city, a big Us, took it personally.

The Me/Us, Valor/Grandeur, is a very hard decision to make. These days it seems to be the matrix through which people, businesses, and orgs are both making their plans and judging how other folks decide to do theirs. I’m going to do a series of posts on this topic. Let me know if there is a person, company, or org you’d like me to evaluate through this matrix.

Jason Moriber is a veteran product/project/marketing manager, underground artist/musician, and online community developer, Jason expertly builds/produces/manages clients' projects, programs, and campaigns. Follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/jelefant
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