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High Performance: Business lessons from hockey

October 25, 2016 -  By

Growing up playing hockey, it has been my experience that there are two types of players. There are those who tend to look for their teammates to set up a nice play. These unselfish players are not seeking the limelight. Instead, they are seeking to give the limelight to someone else by passing the puck. Invariably, the puck comes right back to them, as many other players are on the same page. Teams that move the puck around the ice confuse the defense, get the goalie out of position and make some of the sweetest plays. Highlight reels are filled with tick-tack-toe passing plays. They pass the puck.

On the other hand, there are those who tend to look to themselves to make a play. These puck hogs think they are the only ones who have the ability to score. They seek attention and are not very interested in letting their teammates share it with them. They miss great opportunities because they fail to look around themselves. Selfish and unaware, they love to shoot the puck, hoping for another chance in the spotlight. These “teammates” need to learn to pass the puck.

In my business career, I’ve seen this same dynamic play out over and over again. There are those in leadership positions who look to invest in others. They seek to build up their teams by investing in the development of individuals and teams. They strive to leverage the unique strengths and talents of their teammates, made possible by their deep understanding of what these strengths and talents are. They take great satisfaction in the success of their people and applaud when their achievements are celebrated. They pass the puck.

On the other hand, there are those who tend to look to themselves for success. They seek accolades and are not very interested in sharing it with their underlings. They miss great opportunities because they fail to utilize their people. Selfish and unaware, they love to make all of the decisions and control everything, hoping for another chance at center stage. These “leaders” need to learn to pass the puck.

Now go forth.

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About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at Phil@GrowTheBench.com. He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

1 Comment on "High Performance: Business lessons from hockey"

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  1. Mike Voories says:

    Under-utilized employees, especially top-performers, will quit. The need to feel important and make a noticeable difference is a basic human motivator. Worth mentioning, money does NOT have this same motivating power. Good advice through this comparison Phil.