Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Leadership Lessons from Sidney Crosby of the Penguins

I rarely try to conflate sports stories into business allegories but I’m still euphoric over the Pittsburgh Penguins’ victory a few nights ago (and excited about our WBS Penguins’ currently knotted playoff series with those pesky Binghamton Senators – Impeach ‘em!)  However, Sidney Crosby subtly demonstrated one of the attributes that make him a true team Captain after Monday’s game.

To recap:  Penguins goalie Mark Andre Fleury has a well-chronicled history of mental lapses leading to team collapses in the playoffs.  And the most recent series against Columbus was bringing out the doubters again.  After single-handedly costing the Penguins game 4 with a crazy decision to leave the net open with 25 seconds remaining, Fleury won game 5 and was playing brilliantly in game 6…until the end.  Holding a 4-0 lead with 10 minutes to play (powered by Evgeni Malkin’s hat trick), Fleury let 3 goals slip by in a span of 5 minutes.

After a frantic finish that saw the Pens hold on and win the series, Crosby was quick to grab the game puck and hand-deliver it to Fleury.  When the announcer, who was among many taking jabs at Fleury all series, asked Sidney why he chose Fleury for the honor, he said “There’s a lot of pressure.  It’s a hard job.  And Mark was the best player in the series.” 

And with those few words, the Captain gave an strong endorsement to a player whose confidence could be faltering and who the team desperately needs to stay strong through the rest of the playoffs.  I’ve been thinking about that a lot as I consider people who need to be reminded of their value and importance even when they may be faltering.  The team needs them and is rooting for them to succeed, even if they don’t know it.  We all have to remember to tell them as much, just like Sidney.  Let’s Go Pens!

What Am I Reading?

Unknown-Pleasures-Inside-Joy-Division-Updated-Cover-Jacket-Aug-2012Regular readers of the blog know that I am a sucker for memoirs about great artists and musicians.  And this book by Peter Hook delivers a thrilling, funny and touching eyewitness account of his seminal band Joy Division.  Hooky starts with a gang of rambunctious kids who want to make music and takes us right through the group’s abrupt demise with the shocking suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis.  Like Joy Division’s music, that description sounds bleak but the book is anything but.  Like one of the band’s early ep’s, it’s more an “Ideal for Living.”  Random question:  Why do bass players tell the best stories?