Always have a backup

Having options matters very little until you need them.

Backup goalies in the NHL have an interesting career. They sit, watch, and practice with the team. And, if they win the Stanley Cup without playing a game, they deserve it as much as any player who scored 20 goals including an overtime game winner. Backup goalies present an option to a hockey team. Options are valuable even when they aren’t being used.

Backups are a strategy of risk reduction – what I referred to in another post as preparing your luck – and they are essential to success as a leader.

Lead (with) others

In a recent project I worked on, I learned that one key to leading results is to provide frequent and simple updates to those involved with the project. Add it to the list of things we all know but don’t understand completely until we see numbers arc and dive in front of us.

What made the project successful was having a backup leader who recognized and seized additional opportunities with the project. It allowed us to play hot potato with who was driving and who was backup. It gave support for each other when there was a dip in energy.


Lead (with) leaders

One can drive a car across country with 3 friends who provide you navigation, fuel, and motivation. You’ll get to your destination much quicker if anyone in the car can grab the wheel while others rest.

To lead (with) others, a few things must be done from the start of your project or initiative to make sure there is still only one steering wheel in the car, wheels must be pointed in the same direction to move.

To calibrate your leadership roster:

  1. Set SMART goals, to clearly set a destination
  2. Communicate goals to end audience, to keep leaders accountable
  3. Set an example of behaviours you want your leadership team to emulate

Calibrating leaders will ensure that any one will have the confidence, capability, and motivation to grab the wheel and step on the gas, when they see an opportunity to do so.

Always have a backup.

Tim Rhodes

Tim works proudly with TD Bank Group, he is the creator and curator of this project (500 Lessons). Having just moved across the country to Toronto, he is looking for new community volunteering opportunities!

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The opinions and articles shared on this site by Tim are entirely his own unless otherwise credited, and are not representative of TD's views, position, strategies, or opinions.

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