Every picture tells a story. But sometimes, the tale behind a photograph is just as intriguing. On May 10th, 1970, the great hockey player, Bobby Orr, lept through the air after scoring the over-time goal that gave the Boston Bruins their first Stanley Cup since 1941. It was a celebration that inspired a franchise and led to one of the most iconic sports photographs of all time. What many do not know is that Bobby was not flying through the air from the jubilation of scoring the game winning goal; he was flying through the air because he was tripped by St. Louis Blue defensemen, Noel Picard, as he was shooting the puck past goalie, Glenn Hall.
On the 50th anniversary of one of the most iconic moments in sports history, Bobby’s grit, determination, and agility serves as an important lesson for the developing corporate athlete. Like professional sports athletes, success as a corporate athlete requires a winning mindset, resolve and agility to “win” when the game is on the line – especially in times of adversity and when other forces are doing everything they can to keep you from scoring the winning goal.
Here are some tips for corporate athletes to stay at the top of their game and be ready to win, when the game is on the line and it feels like someone or something is holding you back:
- Set your sight on the goal: As the workplace changes before our eyes, corporate athletes have tremendous opportunity to create more value for their organization. The first step is to get clarity on what the organization needs to achieve and where they may be falling short. When the game is on the line and time is running short, it’s top athletes who want to be called on to win the game. In these times, explore your strengths and passions to see they can be useful in helping your organization achieve its goals, and be ready to take the winning shot when the puck comes your way. Of course, it should go without saying, that you can’t be the game winner when you’re on the bench; so make sure your supervisors know you want to be in the game by sharing how you think your strengths and passions can be helpful in a time of need.
- Develop agility to adjust on the fly: Hockey is a high-speed game where players have to be creative and keep moving to skate out of congestion and around the opponent to find open spots on the ice and opportunities to score. No one will argue that today’s business climate is experiencing more high-speed change than ever before. This demands corporate athletes who can make smart but fast decisions, improvise and move quickly in another direction, and are comfortable experimenting with new approaches to get around obstacles in the way. To become more agile, try approaching every situation as an opportunity to learn, invite the input and feedback from others, take on stretch assignments that others avoid, and take the time to reflect on what you learned from each experience.
- “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!”: The message behind this common saying in hockey is, if you never shoot the puck, you won’t score. So, while the conditions might not be ideal to take your shot, shoot the puck anyways; you never know when you might catch the goalie off-guard, get a lucky bounce, or deflect the puck into the net off of a teammate! With constant change, the constant crisis du jour, competing priorities from within the organization, and other challenges, the time will never feel right to make a bold move. If you’re in position, have been equipped with the right tools, and have the puck on your stick, TAKE THE SHOT!
As time was expiring in the deciding game of the 1970 Stanley Cup Championship, Bobby Orr found a way to win the game. Despite enormous pressure from Blues defensemen, Noel Picard, Bobby kept his sights on the goal, adjusted to the uncomfortable feeling of having his footing ripped out from under him, and shot the puck on goal. The result became one of the most iconic moments in sports history. Have a defining moment in your career by focusing on your goal, adjust to the volatility of changing conditions, and act when you have the chance.