Sound familiar? If you’re an ice hockey fan, you know this chant. In fact, you’ve likely participated in attempts to rattle the opposing team’s goalie.
Many of you know that I play goalie, although in our local adult leagues any such chants would sound somewhat ridiculous coming from the occasional individual who mistakenly stumbles into the rink while we’re on the ice.
Last evening, I was in net for my weekly Friday night game. The game was fast, a back and forth contest short on defense and with lots of shooting. Honestly, it’s exactly the kind of game I love as a goalie.
Having deflected the puck into the corner of the rink, where it was picked up and propelled down the ice by one of my teammates, it struck me how similar being a hockey goalie is to being an executive leader.
High Stress/High Reward
It can be argued that no one sports position is as mentally challenging as that of a hockey goalie. For a goalie, even the slightest error poses a great chance of a goal scored. You’re truly the last line of defense. Either you stop the puck or the back of the net does. The red light flashes every error a goalie makes. But when he’s on top of his game, the goalie makes all the difference. After all, if you never let a goal in, your team will never lose, right?
Planning Trumps Reaction
Just as in leadership roles, the goalie who relies solely on gut instincts and reactions may never reach the end of the game. The frenzied flurry of a team of opposing players, all determined to get the puck past you certainly requires fast reactions. But without planning and careful positioning, even the most reactive and instinctual goalie won’t stand a chance.
In organizations, the executive holds ultimate accountability for the success of the team. On the ice, as the puck careens down the boards and into your defensive zone, when it’s carried down by the other team’s sharpshooter, “the buck stops” with the goalie. Numerous times each game, hockey transforms from a team sport to a mano i mano test….breakaway shooter against goalie. What a rush! Stop the puck, and you’re the hero! But miss it, and……
Sieve! Sieve! Sieve!