As some of you know, my husband Chad is a curler. Yesterday as he was getting ready to head out to his Tuesday evening game, the talk revolved around some of the experiences he’s had playing with various teams. As Chad shared some of his thoughts and insights around the game, two points jumped out at me as being very pertinent to the business world as well.
Play the Best Shot
A skip Chad used to play for would say things like “If you’re going to miss the shot, whatever you do, don’t be inside.” The skip then placed the broom so that if the rock was thrown inside, the worst case scenario would be avoided. The opportunity to make the best shot was taken away from the player.
Being aware of the risks is wise. If the risk is too great, choosing another option is wise, but once a decision is made, don’t sabotage best results and settle for so-so results out of fear.
When you ask your team to take on a challenge, a new role or a new responsibility, train them, support them and then let them take their best shot. Don’t sabotage their efforts or learning opportunities with too many adjustments, check-ins and dire warnings of what could all go wrong.
Assume your team will be successful. If they miss, regroup, discuss options and move on.
Support your Team
In curling, every team member has the right to share their suggestions throughout the game. Team members discuss take-outs vs. draws vs. hit and rolls. When four and sometimes five people make up a team, plus perhaps a coach, there is very often disagreement on what the best shot is. It’s the skip that makes the final call and at that point, discussion needs to stop.
Chad has curled on teams where the disagreement continues after the decision has been made. Instead of getting in the hack and focusing their effort on making the called shot successful, the player focuses on how he’s been asked to make the wrong shot. If it’s the skips turn to make the shot, the lead and/or second continue trying to make their case, instead of allowing the skip to focus on the shot. Chad has also played on teams where once a decision is made, the focus turns to making the shot successful. As the player gets in the hack, they hear words of encouragement from their team member instead of second, third and fourth guessing.
Successful, fully engaged teams understand that everyone on the team has a voice. They also understand that when a decision is made, everyone needs to pull together and work towards success.
On or off the ice, leaders need to believe their team members will be successful. Leaders need to ask for the best work possible from their team members and give them the tools and direction to achieve it.
On or off the ice, all team members need to share ideas and suggestions for success and then, when a decision has been made, work together for success. They need to focus on the goal instead of continuing to focus on what could have been or in their mind, should have been.
What do you think?