By: Karrie Carlin, MA, PHR, SHRM-CP
BLUES. LEADERSHIP. RESILIENCE. TEAMWORK. VICTORY.
“He’s laying it on the line,” Joel Edmundson says (of the St. Louis Blues). “When we see our top player doing that, every other guy follows. It is the kind of inspired leadership that can make a guy run through a wall.” Leadership, teamwork, resilience, and persistence secured the St. Louis Blues a spot in the NHL Stanley Cup Finals and now officially the winners of the Stanley Cup. These traits not only create success on the ice rink, but in business and other aspects of our community as well. Research tells us that there’s a common thread amongst many CEO’s; they played sports. There is a great deal we can learn through sports that help in all aspects of life. Another skill we can all learn from sports, especially this Blues team, is teamwork. Player Zach Sanford said, in reference to Game 3 against the Boston Bruins after their Game 4 win, "A tough loss like that, I think a lot of teams a lot of guys would have started throwing each other under the bus, blaming other people and doing this and that…with this group, it's all just boosting each other and having each other's back, and that showed tonight." Resilience is serving the Blues well, too. Blue’s Head Coach Craig Berube said of Ryan O’Reilly after a playoff game “Day in, day out, there’s not a guy who works harder than him…He’s always out there, even if practice is optional.” This type of resilience is fostered in sports and proves to be valuable when tackling tough problems in the business world.
One other concept we talk about in the talent management and team development world is the Stages of Team Development – teams go through Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. Statistics tell us that only 17% of global teams ever reach the highest level of teamwork – Performing (Tuckman, 1965). This team is there. It is evident that there is trust, respect, an understanding of each other’s role on the team, leadership, perseverance, and many more attributes that have taken them from last in the NHL to the Stanley Cup Champions. Forbes research shows the top characteristics of highest performing teams are “clear vision, inspiring leaders, team cooperation, communication, and appreciation all around”. As Michael Jordan said, “talent wins games but teamwork wins championships.” This incredible team fought hard for this win. They clearly demonstrated how important teamwork was in order for them to achieve this tremendous accomplishment.
What can we all learn from them? How can we be better leaders in all aspects of our lives like this talented Blues team on the ice? How do we take our teams to Perform at the highest levels? A challenge for all of us on and off the ice.