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In Hockey and Business, Talent Is Key to Building Winning Teams

November 10, 2015When it comes to Canada’s competitiveness on the global stage, we needn’t look much further than hockey. Hockey talent abounds across this country, in small towns, big cities, girls’ and boys’ leagues, and on women and men’s national teams. We source it out, we develop it, and we put it to work. It’s a point of national pride and a shining example of our ability to be excellent.

But while Canada’s success on the ice should certainly be celebrated, it also raises an important question. How is it that we manage to invest so well in our hockey talent, yet we don’t apply the same rigour to areas that are much more important to the strength and future of this country, such as innovation and productivity? Canada consistently underperforms globally in these areas, and our economic future depends on our ability to significantly step up our efforts. We need all of our talented men—and women—to fully contribute in order for this to happen.

So it’s fitting that Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Ken Dryden, who has also had a career as a lawyer, business executive, and politician, and is currently leading a McGill program to encourage students to consider their role in making the future of Canada, is the keynote speaker at today’s Catalyst Canada Honours Conference.

It’s a future where talent figures larger than ever before. A future where a smaller workforce will face growing pressure from global competition. A future where innovation and productivity will be the keys to achieving economic success and maintaining our treasured quality of life.

Most of all, it will be a future that demands leaders who “get all their players on the ice” by cultivating and leveraging the talent of team members. Those leaders create teams that excel, because members feel valued both as individual contributors and as vital members of the team.

It’s no surprise that leaders of these high-performance teams share common qualities. Catalyst research has identified four behaviours and characteristics that are demonstrated most frequently, and that we identify by the acronym EACH:

  • Empowerment: Team members know they can exercise judgement and take risks.

  • Accountability: Team members and the leader establish and comply with clear and consistent accountability standards.

  • Courage: Leaders take principled stands to support the team’s decisions and results.

  • Humility: Leaders can acknowledge their own role in failures, and they ensure credit for performance is shared with the team.

Some leaders are born knowing how to unleash the collective talent of their teams to create positive, productive, and innovative results.

Our future depends on other leaders learning how EACH will make us greater.

The views expressed herein are solely those of the guest blogger and do not necessarily reflect those of Catalyst. Catalyst does not endorse any political candidates. The post and the comments are presented only for the purpose of informing the public.