Sad news from the wide world of sports—the hockey season is officially over. Sadder yet, it never started. While many fans had already given up visions of Stanley Cup competition, this hockey addict is disappointed and discouraged. It isn't just about a season without hockey.
The wide world of professional sports has become infected by many of the worst business practices. Greed, escalating salaries, negotiations in which both sides refuse to consider the perspective of the other, profits distributed to support a select few—these are just a few of the factors that diminish the spirit of athletes who were attracted to sports for the love of the game. The same factors throw a curve ball into competitive business where purpose and passion are often abandoned for profit and power. Stellar athletes and workers, including those in high profile professional roles, know that passion and purpose generate peak performance and desirable results, including profits, raving fans, and goals.
Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Mark Messier, Jack Welch, Dee Hock, Frances Hesselbein, Joan Baez, and Ray Charles are players, leaders, and performers who produced winning scores on their fields. They played and worked with heart. In doing so, they created devoted team members and lifelong customers and fans.
Hope springs eternal for some of us. I am going to visualize cheering next year as the Bruins hold up the cherished Stanley Cup. I am also going to picture business leaders recapturing the passion and values that are critical to engaging the hearts, minds, and energy of employees and customers. For now, it will be late night reruns of stellar hockey games from days when athletes like Orr, Gretzky, and Messier played with their hearts and minds to score goals and to thrill diehard fans.