The Czech Republic men’s hockey team took home the gold medal at the Nagano Olympics back in 1998. This is, undoubtedly, one of the best examples of what the right leadership and proper teamwork can achieve — a winning team.
The Czech’s were a group of individuals that grew up playing hockey together, and were led by superstars Dominick Hasek and Jaromir Jagr. This is significant because the rest of the Czech team were not all-stars, but they worked together to beat several powerhouse teams, including Canada who had a group of all-stars that included Wayne Gretzky, Shayne Corson, and Patrick Roy!
I have been a part of many successful, and not so successful, teams. In my view, there are three very important components to being part of a winning team:
Teams and organizations are as strong as their leader. The leader must lead by example. In the case of the 1998 Olympics, Jaromir Jagr was always the first person at the rink and the last to leave. He was working hard on the ice at both ends of the rink, and he was leading the team by example.
A team needs to have each other’s backs. If someone on the team makes a mistake, it’s important not to blame the individual, but to learn from their mistake, as a team. If the team trusts each other, they will be able to learn from each other’s mistakes and become stronger in the future. This will create a winning culture.
Without goals what’s the point? What is the team trying to achieve?
In 1998, the Czech Republic’s team had one goal in mind: win the gold medal.
Dominick Hasek didn’t want to have the lowest save percentage to get a bigger NHL contract. He wanted to win gold as a team.
I believe that these three points are as important in business as they are on the ice.
- If you’re the leader, it’s important to help create a strong culture and lead by example.
- It’s important to build your internal culture and work on building trust between the individuals — this can be as easy as spending some time together as a team outside of the work environment.
- If you’re trying to build a winning team in business, you need to have a goal…something you want to accomplish.
If you can achieve strong leadership, a supportive culture, and clear, unified goals, you will have a winning team.