Hockey Lessons for Entrepreneurs Because We Love Hockey and We Love Business
Speed. Aggression. Knowing when to take a risk. Knowing how to keep your cool. Knowing when to drop the gloves. The right strategy. The right talent in the right roles.
All of those things are elements of a successful hockey team — and a successful business.
An engaged entrepreneur should be able to find inspiration everywhere, and a hockey rink offers more translatable life lessons than most arenas — as long as you stop short of installing a penalty box next to the break room.
Checks finished in the first period lead to weary opponents in the third. In business, little things done at the right time pay off, too. For example, an employee is going to learn more from consistently prompt feedback than from an annual review.
Everybody likes to drop Wayne Gretzky’s famous quote: “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Entrepreneurs can’t afford to drift past opportunities, either. Be consistent in seeking scoring chances — calling clients, being a daily presence on social media — and you’ll find the net.
Have a Deep Bench
Sure, you need star players. But if all your resources go to the high-scoring center, what are you going to have left for the rest of the roster? Choose your team wisely, make sure they know their roles, and make them feel valued. And make sure to put all your players in the game. Fourth-liners who play only in garbage time will never be good enough to play when it matters. Entry-level employees, too, need practice and experience, or they won’t improve. Let them learn from and engage with the stars so that when you need them, they perform well.
In hockey, a well-placed check separates your foe from an opportunity. In business, de-positioning rivals should be considered an essential strategy.
Score on the Power Play
The best hockey teams take advantage of having the advantage. As an entrepreneur, you, too, must seize opportunities. When you land key employees, give them the resources to do their jobs. When you land that big account, let your success lure in other prospective clients.
Go Ahead and Fight
An employee owes the boss the benefit of his or her experience and education. Dissenting opinions and disagreements are not evidence of a lack of team spirit, but rather proof that your players care about success and feel responsible for the team. As long as everyone accepts that the boss makes the final call and the gloves drop only figuratively, fighting is OK.
Don’t Let ‘Bad Breaks’ Break You
Believe it or not, bad calls and bad bounces tend to even out. But if you’re predisposed to thinking you’re getting nothing but bad breaks, you won’t recognize the good ones that come your way. The reality is you will encounter regulations you don’t like, unscrupulous competitors, and any number of market forces over which you have no control. So will your competitors. The ice is the same for everybody. Control what you can control and don’t let the other stuff get in your head.
Remember, entrepreneurship, like a hockey season, has its ups and downs. If you play hard and smart and take advantage of the opportunities you find, you have a good chance of winning. And winning is fun.
Pro Hockey Lessons for Entrepreneurs | Author bio:
AJ Lee is Marketing Coordinator for Pro Stock Hockey, an online hockey store that offers pro stock hockey equipment. He was born and raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, and has been a huge Blackhawks fan his entire life. AJ picked up his first hockey stick at age three and hasn’t put it down yet.