Hockey is life #4-get in the corners

I could go on forever, but I’ll make this the last installment of this series (at least for this season!).  This lesson is about never forgetting about the core of your business.  In hockey, that means gaining control of the puck so you can have the opportunity to score goals.

There are many times when a play breaks all the way down the ice for a dramatic shot on goal.  This is such an exciting aspect of the game, the NHL decided to implement the “shoot out” as a tie breaker strategy.  But the real game takes place in scuffles where the puck is loose and nobody is sure where it’s going to go.  If you want to be in on this action, you have to get in the corners and mix it up.

Photo Yahoo! Sports

Photo Yahoo! Sports

This lesson is about staying in touch with the basics, getting your fingernails dirty, and never being above the play.  You have to be in the real action, to get the real insights.  Real insights lead to innovation and competitive advantage.

In hockey, gaining control of the puck in a corner can lead to a sudden shift in play, often with dramatic results. In your own end, you play defense in the corners to gain control of the play and shift momentum to the wings for a breakout.  In the offensive end, you play for control of the puck so you can pass to a player in scoring position.  Control comes from great body position, full contact, and great stick handling.

It’s often smelly and sometimes painful.  But that’s the front line and you can’t win the game if you don’t win the corners.

Ways to get in the corners in real life:

  • Take a shift on the front line of your business.  Pour coffee, move bags, make sales calls, answer phones.
  • Engage in the tough issues during meetings.  Don’t hang back and let others define the outcome in a way you don’t think is right.
  • Jump in to help during an unexpected problem.  Often times this is where a new idea emerges that can change the course of your business.
  • Change diapers, give baths, play on the floor.  You connect with your kids in ways you’d never imagine!