As a hockey fan, I invest emotionally in my team and have high expectations for the performance of my team’s players. Likewise, if you are a professional (which, for the purpose of this blog, means you’re being paid to do a job), someone is emotionally and financially invested in you and probably has high expectations for your performance. With that in mind, and using the pro hockey player as an analogue, here are some thoughts to consider about how you approach your work.
1. Strength and conditioning – when not “on the job”, (ie. during the off season), pro hockey players are expected to train to ensure that during the season they have the strength and stamina to be at their best. Most of us are paid for mental skills, not physical ones. What is your regimen, when not on the job to improve your mental acuity, your memory, your attitude or any other areas of your mental performance?
2. Practice – pro hockey players attend practices most days to improve their skills, learn systems and to give them the best chance to execute at a high level when under pressure in a game. How do you improve your on the job skills to ensure you perform at your best when your company or organization needs it the most?
3. Research – every pro hockey team scouts their competition, and the rest of the hockey world, to know what tactics other teams are using and to learn what innovations are being successfully implemented elsewhere. What is your approach to keeping up on the latest developments in your industry so you can keep a slight edge on the competition?
4. Coaching – every pro hockey team has a head coach, assistant coaches, conditioning coaches, video coaches and skills specialists to ensure that their players are taught, encouraged, challenged, and held accountable to be the best they can be. Steven Stamkos, the best goal scorer, and perhaps the best shooter in the NHL has a shooting coach he works with regularly. Do you have a business coach or mentor who understands you and your role and who encourages you, holds you accountable, and discusses the latest developments in your field and how to apply them?
5. Goals – Sidney Crosby, the best hockey player in the world is well known for picking a particular area of his game each year and working specifically on improving in that area. He sets a goal, works at improving the skill, and becomes an even better player. He’s the best in the whole world and he continues to find ways to improve! What area of your performance is a priority for improvement and what are you doing about it?
We can all learn from the approach pro hockey players use to become and stay professionals. Are you giving yourself the chance to become the best professional you can be?