You Can’t Reach Everyone, So Build A Culture That Does

Angela and Parker worked together at Bridgewater and connected over shared passions for hockey and teams. Angela is an Olympic Gold Medalist in hockey and spent over two decades playing for Team USA. In this conversation, Angela and Parker discuss the mindset of an elite athlete, and the lessons that can be applied in the business world. Angela tells us that “you can’t reach everyone, so build a culture that does.”

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You Can’t Reach Everyone, So Build A Culture That Does

Angela’s conversation was full of wisdom for athletes and business leaders. A few highlights include:

Create safe spaces: Being a leader means creating an inclusive and welcoming environment. In sports, the locker room is where this environment is fostered. She challenges us to consider what our equivalent of the ‘locker room’ in business, a place where teams get to know each other well and build trust.

Make it about the end goal: Having a clear goal in mind isn’t just helpful to move a team forward, but creates an environment where you can challenge one another in pursuit of that goal, put individual egos aside, and push harder for the sake of the team’s collective performance.

You’re always training: We don’t all compete in the Olympics, but working toward longer term goals, means focusing on the day-to-day preparation and habits that lead to success for ourselves and our teams. Working hard to consistently improve is what motivates us to reach those big lofty goals.

Define your future: Ask yourself what you really want and focus on what you can control. Create clear ambitions for everyone on the team to put challenges in perspective. In Angela’s own words, “if you can define the goal and be wholeheartedly behind it, then everything else is just an obstacle you can overcome.”

Business is a team sport so act like a corporate athlete: For leaders this means rallying the team behind a shared vision to get the most out of each person, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the team, and relying on others for support. For employees it means being a team player, showing respect and support for teammates, and challenging each other to reach for big goals together.

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