The 4 Players You Need


When we work with others, we often discover that not everyone plays the game the same way we do. This often results in conflict and tension so, if you want your team to perform, you really need to recognize the players you need to succeed.

The 4 Players You Need for Your Team to Succeed

Every team has a cast of players, but there is something that separates high performing teams from the rest. Whether it is teams at work or in sports, there are 4 key players that every team needs to have to be successful:

  1. Goal tenders
  2. Consistent performers
  3. Dynamic performers
  4. Strategic performers

Goal Tenders

Your goal tender is the anchor for your team. Consistently successful teams – teams that weather the tough times and shine when things are good – are built from the goal tender forward. A great goal tender is the foundation because they are masterful at their trade and they are mentally unflappable, so they are able to handle whatever is thrown at them. In the hockey realm, these would be your Vezina trophy winners, such as Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy and Dominik Hasek, Martin Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist. These goal tenders carried their teams to victory at their peak, and allowed their teams to win, even when the team was struggling.

In your business, your goal tenders are your CFOs, your finance and accounting managers, your controllers ... the people who ensure that your financial foundation is solid and flexible. They are able to support the company’s strategic decisions and adapt to whatever market forces bring their way. Cash is king in any business, and these players manage your coffers to give your company the best chance to succeed, no matter the playing conditions.

Consistent Performers

Your consistent performers are your bread and butter. They are not flashy or conspicuous ... they are deliberate, steady and confident. They know precisely the job they have to do and they do it precisely. The depth of their contributions often goes unnoticed until they are missing from the lineup. These are your stalwart defencemen and defensive forwards. Your Norris and Selke trophy winners, such as Ray Bourque, Nicklas Lidstrom, Steve Yzerman and Pavel Datsyuk. These players see what is happening around them and act to control the play ... to make it take shape the way they want it to go.

In your business, these are the people who know exactly what they need to do to make your company successful, and they do it with precision and confidence. They aren’t swayed by the latest trends or market fluctuations ... they hold the course and create successful outcomes through their clarity and disciplined activities.

Dynamic Performers

Your dynamic performers are your high profile stars. They are flashy and draw a lot of attention for their creativity and skill. They are always in the middle of the action (they ARE the middle of the action!), creating opportunities, breaking up plays by the other team, tenacious in pursuit of the puck. These are your Hart and Lindsay trophy winners, such as Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Sydney Crosby and the Sedin twins. These players create their own opportunities and opportunities for others, and they always show up at their best in the moments that count most.

In your business, these are the people who make things happen. They bring in the big new deals, they deliver the best products or service experiences and create raving fan clients who want to keep coming back for more. They are the engine that drives your strategic initiatives forward.

Strategic Performers

Your strategic performers are among your top contributors over time. They are involved in every play, but they sit back and watch and analyze and wait for the ideal moment to jump into action, when the right opportunity presents itself. They often go unnoticed for most of their shift, and then suddenly they are there, in the right place, doing the right things to create opportunities for themselves and their line mates. They aren’t the trophy winners, but they are always in the running. They are the Patrick Kanes, the Patrice Bergerons and the Marian Gaboriks of the hockey world. Sometimes they are criticized for lack of intensity or not being involved enough in the play, but when push comes to shove, they are the ones who see and take advantage of the opportunities to deliver.

In your business, these are the people who fly under the radar most of the time, and may not garner much attention, but they always find a way to deliver on what is most important to the success of the company. Sometimes these people are perceived to not be pulling their weight because they aren’t as active in the typical day-to-day activities that their peers engage in. But then they pounce on an opportunity that they have been watching develop and BAM! they deliver on what the company needs. Because of their strategic orientation, these players often mature into the consistent performers described above, who form the deliberate, steady, confident foundation upon which the long-term success of your company is built.

Your Team

Your company has to have each of these types of players on your team to be consistently successful. Each player compliments the strengths and strategies of the others to form a cohesive unit that outperforms the competition over the long-term:

  1. Goal tenders provide the security for your business
  2. Consistent performers are the foundation of the team
  3. Dynamic performers create new opportunities, and
  4. Strategic performers take advantage of opportunities as they develop.

I have seen this play out consistently: in professional sports, on the championship teams that I have played for, and in the successful businesses that we have had the good fortune to have worked with.

So, reflect on your company and identify what types of players you have on your team and who the various players are. How are they contributing as individuals and how are they working together as a team to move your company forward? Are you missing any key players?

And that brings us to a final note. There is another type of player on your team: the Tentative Performers. They are often relatively new to their field and, as such, lack the confidence that experience brings. Sometimes you’re not really sure quite what to do with them. These are your rookies and they make mistakes as they find their feet. Some of them will become the key players on your team, but they need to be nurtured. Take time to identify these future stars and foundational players and teach them how to best contribute to your business. Develop in them the perspectives that will help them make decisions that are consistent with how you want your company to grow, and they will help get you there.

Wishing you success, differently,
– Brian

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