How Michael Strahan Became One of America’s Most Multifaceted Entrepreneurs

He’s an NFL Hall of Famer and a Super Bowl champion, but it would be a serious mistake to dismiss Michael Strahan as “just” a football player.

Since retiring from professional sports in 2007, Strahan has become one of America’s most multifaceted entrepreneurial figures: author, designer, award-winning television personality, and co-founder of talent management agency SMAC Entertainment. And here’s the crazy part: None of it was planned in advance. Following his football career, like many successful entrepreneurs Strahan happened to be in the right place at the right time–of course, with a few more doors open to him–and had the preparation and skill set to capitalize on each opportunity.

On Friday, October 23, Strahan will break down the X‘s and O‘s of his post-athletic career at the 2020 Inc. 5000 Vision Conference, a weeklong virtual event celebrating and connecting entrepreneurs of all stripes. You’ll learn how Strahan approaches choosing a co-founder, managing employees, and pivoting toward consumer-friendly lines of business in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

For example: At SMAC, employees don’t have strict job titles. Strahan and co-founder Constance Schwartz-Morini consider the practice to be limiting, because it encourages the idea that staffers don’t have skill sets outside of their written job descriptions. Rather, the pair chooses to trust their employees to understand what’s needed on any given project and find a way to deliver. The trust element is a theme especially common in Strahan’s career, from the bonds he built with his teammates on the gridiron to the relationships he now builds in the office.

Indeed, he notes, a high level of trust is essential to building a high-performing team in any context. “I’ve been on great teams with great players but the wrong attitudes, and I’ve been on teams where the players weren’t as great, but the attitudes and the commitment were better than anything you’ve ever seen,” he tells Inc. “And that was a team that we won the Super Bowl with.”

Free Main Stage passes are now available for the Inc. 5000 Vision Conference. Click here to claim yours.

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