What Hockey Teaches Us About Teamwork

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May 3, 2019

Even though I live in Kansas, I grew up loving the sport of hockey. The speed, puck-handling, hand-eye coordination, stamina, rhythmic line changes all speak to me. Every goal scored is usually a combination of hard work, skill and a lot of athletic artistry. You can say the same thing about the unbelievable saves the goalies make day in and day out. And, of course, they are doing all of this on skates.

You’re probably asking what this has to do with device repair and device lifecycle management. I think it has everything to do it. Let me explain by way of a current project we are working on.

A large school district in the Midwest contacted us earlier this year about a massive, custom project. We specialize in customization and adapting to meet our customers unique needs so of course we said, “yes!” In simple terms, this “white glove” service involved the logistics and manpower to prep over 6,000 new Chromebooks, wiring lock and charge carts, loading each cart and trucking over 200 pallets directly to each school in the district. Here’s the hitch. In spite of expert planning, the Chrome Books were unexpectedly delayed getting to us certainly no one was going to delay the first day of school! 

Just like hockey, when you’re down a player due to him stranded in the penalty box, we felt a bit ‘short-handed’ when it came time to execute this project. Did we put our heads down and complain? Absolutely not. In fact, our approach was quite the opposite. I felt like a Mighty Duck chanting ”fly, ducks, fly” over and over again. We embraced this opportunity and it ended up teaching out entire team about the power of teamwork. That’s not a cliche. It was real for us in several important ways:

 

Stick Together When Short-Handed – when you feel like you are down a player and out-manned a bit by the situation, that is the exact time to focus, use your skills and work together closely as a team. That’s exactly what we did and it worked. Some of the most impressive and exciting goals scored in hockey are when the short-handed team gains possession of the puck and races to the other end of the ice and scores a goal. We were short-handed, but we embraced the opportunity and ended up being exhilarated by the chance to score a big goal!

Master the Line Change – a very unique aspect of hockey is how players come on and off the ice while play continues on the ice. It’s called a line change, and while it can look pretty random to the uninitiated fan, line changes are well coordinated and well-timed. In addition, frequent substitutions allow the players to give it their all while on the ice and to rest up knowing they will be back on the ice again soon. Thanks to a lot of teamwork, and some strategic line changes, we were able to maintain our stamina on this project we met our deadline with time left on the clock.

Give a Realistic Yet Inspiring Speech In Between Periods – hockey has three, twenty-minute periods and that means the teams go to the locker room twice during the game. Use that chance to regroup, to learn from your progress to date, and hopefully your coach will deliver a realistic and inspiring speech to improve the performance in the next period.

Sound the Horn – when a goal is scored in hockey, the moment is always celebrated with at least one big fist pump, players piling on the goal scorer, and perhaps most notably, a big red light goes off behind the goal and 110-decibel foghorn sounds to the delight of the crowd! During this big project, we found ways to celebrate and to “sound the horn” each and every day. These small celebrations (including some really good lunches) helped keep our spirits high and resulted in sustained work performance.

 

So, the next NHL season is almost upon us. I encourage to check out a game. Don’t worry if you can’t follow the puck. Don’t stress if you don’t know why they called offsides or icing. Just watch the flow and the beauty of the game and look for the many times where teamwork really matters.

Oh, and one more thing…Let’s Go, Blues!