Leadership and Accountability, as told by Jim Craig
- Goaltender for the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team
- Wrote bestselling book, Gold Medal Strategies: Business Lessons Form America’s Miracle Team
- Worked with employees and associates from over 500 organizations
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Jim Craig is best known as the backbone of the 1980 Olympic Gold Medal Hockey Team, whose ‘Miracle’ win was voted by Sports Illustrated as the greatest moment in sports history of the 21st century. Craig, who started every game in goal, was a leading figure in the team’s success. One of the enduring images of the 1980 Games was of Craig, wrapped in an American flag, searching the stands for his widowed father in order to share the gold-medal-winning victory.
Before the Olympics, Jim was an All-American goalie at Boston University, leading his team to a NCAA national championship. After the ‘Miracle’ game, Jim went on to play professionally for three NHL teams, where he sustained a career-ending injury while playing for the Minnesota North Stars. He is enshrined in the Boston University Hall of Fame, the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame, the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, and the United States Olympic Hall of Fame and is a co-recipient of both the Lester Patrick award and the Sports Illustrated "Sportsman of the Year" award. He is also a graduate of Boston University and earned his doctorate in humane letters from Mercy College.
Following Jim’s professional hockey career, he transitioned his success into the corporate world as a motivational speaker, powerful salesman and corporate consultant. He has been inducted into the Sales Halls of Fame for two different companies, having increased a sales territory from $300,000 to $50 million in annual sales. Following this role, Jim moved on to become the Vice President of a promotional marketing agency. Under his guidance, the agency increased annual dollar sales by 80 percent and its number of clients by 30 percent in just two short years.
For more than 30 years, Jim has inspired, instructed and provided strategic and winning direction to some of the most prestigious companies across the world, including Kellogg's, Bayer, Deloitte, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and Disney, as the successful owner and president of his company, Gold Medal Strategies. Jim has been selected three times as one of the top five speakers on team building in the United States, and has evolved to not only deliver motivational speeches, but host immersive corporate training programs that teach participants how to think differently and believe in their possibilities. Jim is the co-author of the highly acclaimed business book, Gold Medal Strategies: Business Lessons from America's Miracle Team and recently released his newest book and legacy piece, We Win! Lessons on Life, Business & Building Your Own Miracle Team. In addition to his role with Gold Medal Strategies, Jim serves as a board member of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and he has a passion for leveraging his athletic and business success to help others achieve their full potential and lives in integrity with his mission every day!
Power of Teamwork. Very few things great are done alone. Epic achievement is almost always the result of successful and enduring collaboration. Jim explains and details the elements of winning teamwork. He provides specific examples from the experience of the U.S. “Miracle on Ice” hockey team, and how it confounded the experts, made history … and made it to the top of the podium.
Fundamentals of Winning. Jim talks about the “stuff” and marrow of winners. Jim drills down and talks about the following: What winners share in the way of character. How they prepare. Their priorities. How they handle victory. How they handle defeat. Jim discusses what truly drives winners – the greatest winners.
Commitment to Excellence. Jim has studied … and continues to study and research … what inspires the pursuit of excellence in those who achieve greatness. He describes what is it that separates those content with good enough, and with all right, and with the okay … and those who have an unquenchable thirst and drive to make history and establish the highest standards.
Goal Achievement: As Jim often tells audiences, “If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Jim shares the elements and fundamental components of goal setting, defining missions – and then going confidently … and smartly … in the direction of your dreams.
Conflict Management. One of the nine “Gold Medal Strategies” that Jim teaches … that he writes and speaks about … is that Great Teams Manage Through Ego and Conflict. Jim tells the story of early on in their journey to Lake Placid and history, the players on the 1980 U.S. Olympic team were not working cooperatively; the team was beset by regional and personal rivalries. But the players got beyond the conflict – and they forged a team, and executed teamwork, for the ages.
Transformational (Change) Management. Had the members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team – under the guidance and direction of Herb Brooks – not thrown off the old ways and play of U.S. international hockey … had they not embraced a revolutionary form of the game … they would not have beat the team that couldn't be beat, and won the game that couldn't be won. There would not have been any gold medal, any stop atop the podium. Jim talks about how he and his teammates executed that transformation and change – and how the example of that transformation and change can aid your organization to perform more effectively.
Accountability for Action. Great Teams Hold Themselves and Others Accountable – this is one of the nine “Gold Medal Strategies” that Jim teaches. Accountability, as Jim explains and breaks down, is an exercise in looking inward and demanding accountability of yourself – and then working together as a team to make sure that every person on the team is accountable … and, as a tem, helping people to be accountable and to better perform their job.
Confidence Building. How do you inspire and impart confidence? How do leaders and teams accomplish this critical task? How do you pull greatness out of people? How do you challenge and inspire people to get outside their comfort zone – and to reach for what they at one time not thought reachable, and not attainable? Jim shares with you the tactics and strategies of confidence building.
Risk Taking. Risk takers make history. If there is no risk, there is no great achievement. Jim talks about the risk taking enterprise that was the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. He shares more examples of risk taking … in sports, business, and other areas of human endeavor … that enabled greatness and the epic.
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If you are looking for someone who delivers at the highest level of motivation and professionalism, look no further than Jim Craig. Jim personalized his presentation to our audience while at the same time, touching on the key elements that have impacted his life, as well as the amazing events that have shaped who he is. I have been involved in securing and working with speakers for over 37 years and I can say, hands down, Jim is one of the finest people whom you will ever work with.
Your message, and the way you wove in John’s leadership philosophy and our team’s vernacular, was just incredible. We sincerely appreciate your time – you and your team certainly “prepare to win” – and the impact you’ve made on OneNA. To say the team is fired up is an understatement!
Working with Jim and his team is an absolute pleasure! We consistently have an amazing experience and Jim always gets outstanding feedback from our clients. We highly recommend him to anyone who is looking for a phenomenal speaker!
Our virtual keynote with Jim Craig was a huge success. I was personally very impressed with the Gold Medal Strategies team from the beginning, where they took the time to truly prepare and get to know our organization’s aims and strategic objectives, ensuring Jim’s message would perfectly align. On the day of the event, Jim was very well spoken and natural behind the camera, and I believe his message was empowering for everyone tuned in. Jim did an excellent job at bringing everyone together during a time of great uncertainty. After speaking with passion about motivation and inspiration for about half an hour, Jim then engaged the team in a Q and A session, answering in an open and thoughtful way. I have received nothing but positive feedback and can’t recommend Jim and the Gold Medal Strategies team enough to bring your team together when the world is currently keeping them apart.
Jim’s speech was everything I hoped for and more. It is one thing to impart the right messages, but a true motivator inspires action and that is what Jim accomplished. Having Jim as the keynote speaker for our team was a great decision with overwhelmingly positive results. I would strongly suggest to any company looking for a motivational speaker to make the same choice.
Jim nailed the virtual presentation and his focus on "training to win" and what it takes to win was extremely motivating. One of my favorite quotes was, "taking the harder right over taking the easier wrong". It is so easy not to have the hard conversations in leadership and to not do the uncomfortable work or fooling yourself into thinking you are taking the harder right. This message hit home with our team and we have discussed it quite a bit. We are a tighter group because of it and I thank Jim for it! He taught us there is a certain grit and grind it out attitude you must have to win! In a challenging environment, like we are experiencing today, this message was perfectly timed. We are on our way now and know what it means to train to win not just to train to compete.
The leadership from our organization has been working with Jim Craig and Gold Medal Strategies in various ways for many years...Jim and his team are experts at developing materials that are relevant to our leaders. Jim has a natural talent for pulling out greatness! He challenges you to think differently, push harder and develop exceptional work through these calls. Jim will push you and challenge your team. He has helped me grow my leadership exponentially and is an amazing performance coach! I highly recommend Jim & Gold Medal Strategies!