I was driving with my brother back from a family event and we started talking about the upcoming Jets and Flames hockey seasons. After some speculating on free agent signings, we started to talk about the qualities of good Project Manager and Leaders. That balance good leaders have between being persistent and committed and being able to admit a mistake and change course. There is a whole continuum of leaders that give in too quickly and some that never give in at all. What makes once person able to move on quicker than another?
We agreed that while we aren’t sure where those points are for every situation, but we did agree on one thing. If you have been a goalie, you will find that point easier than other people. Here are the five reasons your next leader or Project Manager should be a goalie.
Goalies know they can’t win by themselves – focus on the project
No matter how good a goalie is, they can’t win games by themselves. This helps immensely to keep egos in check. They know they need forwards to score goals and defenceman to help keep goals out of their own net. More than any other position, you are brutally aware on how the entire team is needed.
In addition, your role as a Goalie is to give the rest of the team confidence as well. The rest of the team should not have to worry about bad goals in our own goal. Our team should have the freedom to challenge and rush when the opportunity arises.
Goalies know that the focus needs to be on the wins and not the goals. It is about the project and not the tasks.
Goalies know you can’t win them all – look forward
Goalies are perfectionists in their craft and in all things except having a good memory. Goalies are also extremely forgiving with their teammates and their mistakes. This provides an interesting dichotomy. I am a perfectionist until that pucks is in the net, then I need to be able to wipe the slate clean and move on. Usually there is a quick re-evaluation process and then you need to move on. This requires a short memory and a good amount of confidence.
Even more, Goalies understand that the games is made up of 20-30 mini-games and they need to be ready for the next one. You can’t get too high or too low.
Bad decisions and mistakes are part of the game. Everyone makes them so it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of time on persecuting the guilty. Fish the puck out and move on….
Goalies know about perfect shots or deflections – don’t over plan, over analyze
You can have the perfect angle and sometimes a shot is going to beat you or is going to be deflected. That is just life and it is no ones fault. Good Goalies spend minimal time looking backward and almost all their time looking forward.
This also help Goalies to not over plan. People can over plan or over analyze because their believe it will increase the chances of success. Goalies realize that even if you spend two weeks working on something, a deflection is still likely. Rather than spending all that time planning, spend time on how you will recover because you know a deflection is going to happen.
Goalies realize communication is the key – communicate
For those of you that haven’t been on ice level, Goalies are probably the chattiest players on the ice. Always chirping our information to the defencemen – ‘time’ , ‘left’, ‘right’, ‘point’, ‘DUCK’
Goalies realize the key is rebound control – deal with issues immediately
Goalies and Project Managers and Leaders realize that issues happen. What they all realize is that it doesn’t matter how or why the issue arose, just how can we get it resolved. Having an issue is not a bad thing, booting the issue around in front of the net for 3 or 4 shots is a bad thing and will lead to a goal.
Find the issue, locate the issue, cover the damn thin up a get a whistle.
Goalies guide projects to where they want them to go – minimize risk
When I played a lot, I had a great glove hand. My brother had great lower body reflexes. So what did we do? We showed more or less to influence the shots to go to our strengths.
Similarly, a great Project Manager or leader will guide the project to where he knows the project is prepared. He or she will know the high-risk areas and compensate for those areas. I always used to hug the stick side post.
But Terry, you say, ‘I’m not a goalie, does that mean I can’t be a Project Manager?’
Not at all. But if you are a good Project Manager, it means you probably would be a good goalie. 🙂