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12 Leadership Lessons From Some Of The Greatest Teams Of All-Time

Every organization should have a Research Development (R&D) department – a place where you can experiment and see if something will work.  Well, welcome to the Brian Dodd On Leadership R & D effort.  I am providing you leadership lessons from HOCKEY!  Please don’t leave just yet.  Let’s see if this is worth your time.

The Sporting News has just named the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens as the greatest hockey team of all-time.  The following is a list of the entire Top 10 with leadership lessons from each:

  1. Talent Development and Retention – The ’76-77 Montreal Canadiens had 8 Hall of Fame players who came up together through their system.
  2. Opportunity – There is a difference between sensing an opportunity and seizing it.  The ’55-56 Montreal Canadiens were so good at scoring during power plays that the league was forced to change the rules.
  3. Leading By Example – A fundamental leadership principle is that people do what people see.  Wayne Gretzky, the greatest player of all-time and center of the ’83-84 Edmonton Oilers, established the pace by being the team’s hardest worker.
  4. Versatility – The ’81-82 New York Islanders could play any style, and win.
  5. Intelligence – The ’51-52 Detroit Red Wings had nine players who would eventually become head coaches or general managers.
  6. Diversity  – Eleven players from the ’01-02 Detroit Red Wings represented five countries in the 2002 Olympics.
  7. Defining Moments – Great teams always have a defining moment.  The legendary photo of the Boston Bruins’ Bobby Orr flying horizontally after scoring the winning goal in Game 4 of the 1970 Stanley Cup is shown above.  Leaders, has your organization had a defining moment?  
  8. Key Additions – The ’64-65 Montreal Canadiens were given a boost by the acquisition of goalie Gump Worsley who came to the team after 10 seasons with the New York Rangers.
  9. Priorities – As John Maxwell teaches, great teams never confuse activity with accomplishment.  The ’91-92 Pittsburgh Penguins finished the season only seven games above .500.  However, they won 11 consecutive play-off games to win their second straight Stanley Cup.
  10. Youth – Great teams are constantly getting younger.  The ’46-47 Toronto Maple Leafs featured nine rookies.
  11. Depth – Each of the ten teams listed all had great depth.
  12. Leadership – Each team had great coaching headlined by Scotty Bowman and Hap Day who are considered the greatest coaches in hockey history.

Leadership, Depth, Youth, Priorities, Key Additions, Defining Moments, Diversity, Intelligence, Versatility, Leading By Example, and Talent Development and Retention.  These are the traits that made these teams the greatest hockey teams of all-time.  If practiced, they will make your church, business, non-profit, or team great as well.

So how did you enjoy the hockey references?

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Brian Dodd is a church stewardship & leadership consultant. See www.briandoddonleadership.com for additional insights.