Ok, so I’ve previously coached you on the importance of teamwork in hockey. Scrap everything I said. It’s so much more important to have a hot goalie.
Oh wait. That was the little Canadian Hockey devil on my right shoulder out-shouting the Process Optimization Angel on my left.
Emotion is a powerful ally and has been on stunning display for the last couple of weeks. I am a steadfast college sports fan because, it could be argued, the student athletes have yet to be tainted by a monumental payday. That’s what the Olympics used to be, according to my fading memory. But irrespective of whether you are an amateur or a professional, you are likely subject to the disruptive effect of emotions.
Take the goal tender for the Latvian Men’s ice hockey team, Kristers Gudlevskis. Facing 57 shots in a recent game from some of the planet’s premier hockey stars, this young man had emotion on his side. He could do very little wrong and carried the hopes of his country in what would have been a significant upset had they beaten the Canadians. This athlete, whose name is not known to the NHL fan base – or wasn’t until these Games, turned aside wrist shots and slap shots with ease. Yes there was teamwork, but there was a whole lot of heart from a single player.
As we reflect on our work-life experiences and seek ways to motivate our teams, it is perhaps worthwhile to consider how channeling positive energy and personal commitment can make a significant difference to our teams. We can turn up the level of performance by setting examples of what is possible, even as individual contributors. And delivering results in super-human fashion doesn’t hurt. Congratulations Kristers – you have taught us something important about facing challenges in an inspiring way.