Three Ingredients for Championship Success


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Blackhawks win!!! And the city of Chicago is all a buzz with the Stanley Cup Championship title coming back home after a long 49 year drought.  What an amazing year, an unbelievable playoff season and a remarkable final round on the road to the Stanley Cup.  How did the Blackhawks with such a young team take the ice by storm?

It started 3 years ago, with a changing of the guard in management.  Owner, Rocky Wirtz took over the Blackhawks in 2007 from his father Bill Wirtz and the organization hasn’t been the same since.  And Blackhawk fans couldn’t be happier.  There are many factors that led the Blackhawks to their much anticipated and awaited championship debut.  Rocky Wirtz made some tough decisions, albeit good decisions, in tough economic times.  He is a true leader, unafraid to challenge the status quo, shake things up and make things happen.  There are 3 critical factors that I believe led the Blackhawks to their 2010 Stanley Cup Championship season.

1. Clear vision.

When Rocky Wirtz took over he started with a clear vision for his team.  It was simple, it made sense and it was something that everyone, fans included could rally around.  One Goal.  That was it, One Goal.  The One Goal for the Blackhawks was to win the coveted Stanley Cup.  He set the vision and from there together with his amazing staff went to work.

Every organization needs a clear vision.  One that employees, customers, shareholders and executives can wrap their arms around.  One that resonates and gives purpose and meaning to their work.  One that isn’t 2 paragraphs long.  One that can be repeated and will be the mantra for all that you do.  What’s your vision?  Do your employees know and understand the vision?

2.  A Plan

Having a clear vision is the start of success, it certainly won’t get you there without a plan.  Rocky Wirtz knew he had to win back the fans of Chicago, a once thriving and passionate hockey town.  Together with his team they developed a comprehensive plan to achieve the vision of One Goal.  This included mass media attention, televising every home game (televised home games were banned by Bill Wirtz), taking advantage of free agents, hiring the best of the best, identifying young stars, hosting the Winter Classic and much, much more.  The Blackhawks had a vision and now they had a plan and they worked their plan everyday.

Every wise business leader knows they must have a plan.  Things don’t just fall into place.  Often times though management is distracted by other things that take them away from their plan and ultimately their vision.  In order to achieve success, you must plan for success.  What’s your plan?  How often do you work your plan?  Does your team know and understand your plan?  Do all your decisions revolve around plan?

3. An Unbelievable Team

Blackhawks management worked hard to acquire star players.  They identified up and coming talent and secured experienced veteran players.  Bringing together talent is one aspect of a winning team, the other is getting them to work together.  The coaching staff tapped into the strengths and natural talents of their players.  The Blackhawks had a deep bench of talent.  Each player complimenting the other players talents.  They won as a team, they lost as team.  And they all have an enormous amount of respect for each other.  The have fun together with their Wii tournaments on the road, sharing rooms, taping commercials and supporting each other through ups and downs.  They are friends and brothers in hockey together.  Each player understands their role on the team, they worked tirelessly to perfect their talents and everyone knew exactly what was expected from them and the team.

Creating a solid team starts with acquiring top talent.  Talent that can and is willing to help you achieve your vision and your plan.  In order to achieve success, realize it takes more than one or two people.  Organizations are best served by tapping into the strengths of their team members, exploiting those strengths and respecting those strengths.  Having fun at work is also critical to building a well oiled team.  What are you doing to foster team spirit and team work?  Who are you hiring?  How are you building a team that respects one another?  Does your team know and understand their role in the organization?

There are many more aspects of leadership that led the Blackhawks to their success.  In my mind these three are the foundation from which everything else is built on.  What do you think?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kelly Ketelboeter
Kelly is an experienced training professional with over 14 years of corporate classroom training both as an employee and consultant. She has managed and consulted over 75 clients nationwide and in Canada in the areas of customer service, relationship based selling and coaching/management.


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