Known simply as The Great One, Wayne Gretzky is hockey royalty in most of the world. In Canada, he’s a god.
22 years after retiring from the National Hockey League, he still holds 61 records, including all-time points and all-time goals.
He won his first Stanley Cup, with the Edmonton Oilers, at 23 years old. His team won 4 total in five years.
The owner of the Oilers, Peter Pocklington, traded his best player to the Los Angeles Kings for a handful of young prospects, money, and draft picks in 1988.
Wayne never won another Stanley Cup.
Edmonton won again in 1990, without Gretzky.
Although Gretzky was undoubtedly the best player of his generation and arguably the best player of all time, he needed great players around him to win.
While in Edmonton, he had Mark Messier.
There are a total of seven players from that Oilers team who are in the Hall of Fame with Wayne.
Messier is considered one of the best leaders to ever play the game.
He didn’t fare too bad with scoring either. He is third on the list of all-time points with 1887 – only 970 behind Gretzky.
Mark won two more championships after the Great One was traded. One with Edmonton and another with New York.
When we look at greatness, there’s an unsung hero who acts as number 2. He/she allows the leader to shine in the public’s eye. But he/she is every bit as great in other ways.
Sports is the lens the phenomenon is magnified.
It happens in business, entertainment, and music.
Bill Gates had Paul Allen
Jobs had Woz and later Tim Cook.
Buffet has Munger.
Tom Brady has Gronk.
Seinfeld had Larry David.
My friend, Al, Is a professional scout. One of his jobs is to evaluate talent based on agreed criteria from the “Big” club.
He told me there are three categories they use to evaluate talent.
Skill. Metrics like speed, skating, stickhandling.
Leadership. Do they inspire others?
Teamwork. Do they make players around them better?
Al is a pro at building better teams. He uses the term, “Unstoppable talent”.
Sometimes, he finds a player who excels in all three areas. He says a great player cannot win on his own.
He believes a team needs two unstoppable talents for success. And if the stars align and three unstoppable talents emerge, a dynasty is born with multiple championships. Legends are created and future generations will speak of those moments to their grandbabies.
Magic Johnson had Kareem and James Worthy.
Larry Bird had Robert Parrish and Kevin McHale.
Shaq had D. Wade and Pat Riley, and then Kobe and Phil Jackson
Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman.
Greatness can be achieved alone.
It takes at least one other unstoppable talent.
Now look at your own business.
Are you doing this by yourself or do you have an unsung hero who could be great if you weren’t in the way?
If you have her (or him), get out of the way.
If you don’t, go find her.
Your business will only grow to the size of the foundation.
Spend all the marketing money you have, without the right internal resources, it will shrink back to your true capacity.
The Law of Greatness says, “The way up is down”. You must serve others first in order to become great.
Your business is your legacy, so why not make it your dynasty?
Identify your Mark Messier.
He won’t be you.
But he’ll take you and your company places you didn’t think was possible.
He’ll make you better. And you…him.
Together, you’ll attract other greats looming in the shadows, wanting to be part of the Greatness you allowed to happen by identifying and unharnessing Unstoppable Talent.