(Photo orginally posted via NPR news / Cred: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Like thousands of others this weekend, I watched the Hockey All-Star event and was captivated by the Cinderella story of John Scott; a fourth line hockey player catapulted to the spotlight who, although told he had no claim to be an “all star,” found a way to prove the naysayers wrong. I am not a huge hockey fan - and yes I am Canadian - but I was fascinated by the universality of John’s experience. Why did I keep linking it back to my work as a corporate trainer for InspireHUB?
There is no debate that John Scott, by hockey standards, is something of an anomaly. He is not the fastest skater. He has a mere five goals in more than 200 games and was recently sent to the Montreal Canadiens farm team, not really expecting to be called back up. His jersey did not proudly don the logo of his NHL team, because he doesn’t have one, yet he secured a spot on the All Star Team as a write-in player.
According to John Scott, the NHL tried to talk him out of playing in the All-Star Game but he showed up anyway. When he did, he set something in motion that resulted in him being named MVP. He shot a puck at more than 90 mph! He scored two goals (more than Sidney Crosby has scored in an All-Star Game). His teammates hoisted him on their shoulders and he never stopped smiling. He was having a blast. Now his helmet will be donated to the Hockey Hall of Fame and that’s when it hit me. The reason this story kept flashing back to my work at InspireHUB is because we live by and teach three of the principles that I saw play out over the past two days.
- Make good friends. It was very obvious that John had made some very good friends over his career. He had been on a lot of teams and the consensus was the same: he was a really great guy that made you laugh. The kind of guy you wanted in the dressing room.
- Keep communication simple. One idea at a time. Before the game, apparently Brent Burns, a friend of John’s, made a comment that resulted in John’s first goal. Burns had told him, “get in front of the net and keep your stick on the ice. I will find you.” A simple instruction that John followed. He had one job to do. He found his place, waited for the puck and took the shot.
- Engage personally with your audience. John Scott’s story engages us on the personal level because there are more fourth line players out there in hockey and real life than there are superstars. We could relate to him. I could relate to him. My feelings switched from anticipation to fear as he skated onto the ice. I wanted him to have his moment the same way I want my kids, husband, friends, and dare I say it - myself - to have that moment where everything we have done comes together in one magical experience.
We may not ever have the opportunity that John Scott had this weekend and we may never work for the NHL, but that doesn’t mean we can’t incorporate these three powerful principles into our own organizations.
- Be a good friend in all your dealings. In all the activities you do for your organization ask yourself “is this how I would treat a good friend?” If the answer is no, stop what you are doing.
- Keep communications simple. Stop trying to jam everything you’re doing into one communication. Instead, share one idea at a time. Allow your team and audience to focus on that one idea.
- Be personal. Share your authentic insights on the world. Your audience wants to know you and they will if you are brave enough to be your authentic self.
By practicing some of InspireHUB’s engagement principles, it won’t matter what the world is telling you about your organization. With determination and practice you can go on to be an all star, just like John.