Hockey Season Starts - So What is the Best Team?

An image of a hockey goalie from behind, with Echidna written on his back.

The NHL season gets underway tonight and many of us at Digital Echidna are fans. There are those who don't get the appeal of sports; some think it's mindless drivel; others feel that it's beneath them. That's their opinion -- and I think they're missing out.

Some people will say sports offers a distraction from life; others will say it's a metaphor for life. Personally, I am a sports fan for a number of reasons, but not the least of which is the sense of community and camaraderie (even as a friendly rival) it fosters.

It's that ability to travel throughout this world and see someone wearing a team's hat and having that instant connection. It's the ability to have a common starting point, through something external, that allows one to build a comfortable foundation for discussion.

But sports also teaches us a lot about life. Team sports, in particular, help you understand what it takes to succeed in business and in life.

So what's the best team? Well, if you answered the Montreal Canadiens, you'd be right (and I'm not at all biased in this.) But, for the purposes of this blog, let's look at what your roster for success should be. And this applies to any number of scenarios -- from business, to community volunteerism, to politics.

For me, the winning team is all about balance. And, from a communications standpoint, understanding who they are can help you understand how to connect with them.

Varying Degrees of Experience

If you've only got a bunch of grizzled veterans, you're going to miss out on the enthusiasm of youth. If you've only got a bunch of rookies, you're going to miss out on the benefits of experience and institutional history. A blend of both helps move your organization forward in a positive way.

"Because we've always done it this way" is never a good reason to kill new ideas. "We tried that before and it didn't work because of X, Y, and Z" is a good way from repeating past mistakes. As George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Conversely, the enthusiasm and drive of youth helps bring new ideas to the fore. The passion of youth can be a motivating factor for everyone -- and it encourages everyone to stay current with their knowledge and experiences.

Also bringing in different perspectives helps. A homogenous team may miss perspectives that are afforded through inclusion of other backgrounds. Work experience combined with life experience is a powerful force.

Cheerleaders and Silent Supporters

Not everyone is going to be a rah rah type. Not everyone is comfortable speaking up, motivating others, or getting everyone involved. Some people are happy to put their heads down and work. And there's nothing wrong with that. But it's a balance -- those gregarious, buoyant personalities can help lighten the mood during stressful times. They lead the way in team-building and togetherness --- and that's a huge part of both success and satisfaction.

But just because someone quietly goes about their business, it doesn't mean they're not invested in the team. They just have different ways of expressing themselves and must be actively approached and included in idea-generation and discussions.

Dreamers and Pragmatists

Some people are all about the ideas and blue-sky dreams. They have a vision and they can illustrate their concepts compellingly. We all need goals and targets to shoot for, and dreams can be a motivating factor for your team.

However, you also need those with their feet firmly rooted on the ground to provide a counterbalance. What do we need to focus on today? What steps can we take to ensure we're on the right path to reach those blue-sky dreams? How can we ensure we stay on focus for today's tasks while still marching towards our dream future?

Sharing Goals

In hockey, you have superstars and pluggers, you have skill forwards and grinders, you have offensively gifted players and defensive juggernauts. But regardless of who they are and how they play the game, they know the two main objects of the game are to put the puck in the opposing team's net and keep it out of your own.

Despite the differences in ages, sex, temperament, experiences, backgrounds, beliefs, and personal situations, everyone needs to come together and be focused on the company's goals.

Most importantly, you have to keep your fans happy. Your customers should always be first and foremost in your mind -- and by putting together a solid team that works well together, complements each other, and is able to maximize its talents, you've developed a winning team that's going to keep everyone happy.

So who is on your dream team? When you're working on a project or adding to your staff, do you look to blend certain qualities or attributes? Comments, as always, are open.

And, before we leave you, here's a picture we took today of (most of) our team! Enjoy the season everyone.

A picture of most of the Digital Echidna team, taken at the ice level of the Budweiser Gardens in London, ON.

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