Gold Medal Strategies: Business Lessons From America's Miracle Team
It's been called the greatest upset of all time, the most memorable Olympic moment ever, the "Miracle on Ice." No matter which superlative is used, no one can deny that the U.S. men's hockey team's defeat of the Soviet Union in the medal round of the Lake Placid Olympic Games was a defining moment for Cold War America.
The U.S. team's goalie was a Boston University student named Jim Craig, who is now a leadership expert and keynote speaker to business audiences. Gold Medal Strategies gives you Craig's unique lessons from the "Miracle" team on team dynamics, leadership, motivation, and other important management topics. With his unparalleled perspective, Craig dissects and analyzes the elements of a successful team, how to assemble one, and what philosophies will keep the team's shared goal a reality. This book outlines the necessary skills and details the specific techniques you need to maximize your business readiness, hone competitive cooperation, gather your strategies, and attack your challengers.
FOREWORD JON “JACK” LUTHER xiii
Chapter 1 Great Teams Think of Themselves as Winning Underdogs 1
Chapter 2 Great Teams Have a Shared Dream 27
Chapter 3 Great Teams Make Personal Sacrifices 53
Chapter 4 Great Teams Hold Themselves and Others Accountable 75
Chapter 5 Great Teams Are the Product of Picking the Right Players 97
Chapter 6 Great Teams Have a Real or Invented Enemy 123
Chapter 7 Great Teams Stay Young in Spirit and Outlook 145
Chapter 8 Great Teams Manage Through Ego and Conflict 167
Chapter 9 Victory—The One and Only End Game 193
DON YAEGER is a former Sports Illustrated editor and coauthor of four sports-related New York Times bestsellers. He is also a frequent motivational speaker on lessons he's learned from sports legends like Walter Payton and John Wooden. He is a frequent contributor to several nationally syndicated sports programs, including Fox News and ESPN. Learn more at www.donyaeger.com.
It's been called the greatest upset of all time, the most memorable Olympic moment ever, the best moment in the history of American sports, the "Miracle on Ice". No matter how you describe it, no one can deny this defining moment for Americans - the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team's defeat of the mighty Red Machine from the USSR in the medal round of the Lake Placid, NY Olympic Games. Followed by a troubled decade in American history, this win represented a symbolic moment of the Cold War struggle between two super-powers and a step forward in the domestic game.
The U.S. team's goalie was a Boston University student named Jim Craig. Craig has been called the backbone of the team. In the game against the Soviets, the Americans were outshot 42-16, but Jim made 39 saves and his teammates scored four times. Two days later, against Finland, Jim was again superb, and the Yanks won, 4-2, to take Olympic gold. At the Lake Placid games his performance was phenomenal. Indispensable to Team U.S.A.’s epic, what some have called the miraculous upset of the Soviet Union was the play of Jim Craig.
Following hockey, Craig built a highly successful and award-winning career in sales and marketing. He took his experience in athletics and business into his present role as one of the most in-demand motivational speakers and teamwork and sales coaches in America. Craig travels the country teaching and advising organizations on team building and leadership strategies he learned on the ice and in the corporate world. He writes about these strategies in his new book, GOLD MEDAL STRATEGIES: Business Lessons From America’s Miracle Team (Wiley; ISBN: 9780470928066, Hardcover, April 2011, $24.95).
According to Craig, he describes their win against the USSR as far from a miracle; in fact it was their well mixed formula that awarded them a gold medal, “What we accomplished at Lake Placid was the result of a lot of hard work – and a lot of smart work. It was the result of exceptional and brilliant mentorship. It was the result of sublime execution and poise in competition. It was a result of one of the best demonstrations of team chemistry in sports history.”
Craig proceeds to explain, “We won because of proper preparation – and then focusing and playing our best hockey at the most important time. I am forever fortunate and blessed to be a member of that team.”
Coined from his keynote speeches, GOLD MEDAL STRATEGIES gives Craig's unique lessons on team dynamics, leadership, motivation, and management topics. With his unparalleled perspective, Craig dissects and analyzes the elements of a successful team, how to assemble one, and what philosophies keep a team's shared goal a reality. This book outlines the specific techniques needed to maximize any business readiness, hone competitive cooperation, gather strategies, and attack challenges.
“Today my vocation – and avocation – is traveling the country, inspiring people and organizations, and teaching and coaching winning teamwork. The experience and examples of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team are fundamental to the way I make a living – and they also play an integral role in the way I make a life.”- Jim Craig.
As Craig travels the country as a motivational speaker and teamwork coach, he delivers his message by focusing on the goals of great teams:
- Great teams are the product of meticulous recruiting
- Great teams have a shared dream
- Great teams have a chip on their shoulder – and think of themselves as winning underdogs
- Great teams have a real or invented enemy
- Great teams manage through ego and conflict (great teams don’t make excuses)
- Great teams make personal sacrifices
- Great teams hold each other accountable
- Great teams stay young in spirit and outlook
- Great teams and great companies win!
In GOLD MEDAL STRATEGIES, Craig draws lessons from his dedicated teammates on the 1980 US Olympic team, whose average age was 22 and their demanding coach. He describes the qualities of championship teams, whether in athletics or business. He delivers advice on building a winning team and achieving greatness in business and in life. Readers will learn to:
- Recruit people with the right values and character
- Recognize and deal with enemies of success in their own house
- Pull potential out of every member of their team
- Establish a two-way street of accountability
- Define victory for their team
Great teams dare to dream big. They put in the hard work required and commit to proving the doubters wrong. The 1980 U.S. men's hockey team rose to their challenge in a time when miracles seemed impossible. Those that read GOLD MEDAL STRATEGIES will not only be inspired by Jim Craig’s story but will take away wisdom from a man that has made American history in the world of sports.
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