Hey, I’m from Canada, eh? The land of maple syrup, hosers, and hockey. And in our national game there’s a statistic that they use to measure the overall effectiveness of players. It’s called “plus/ minus.” But you don’t need to be on the ice in order for that thing to tell a big story.
“Plus / minus.” Here’s how it works.
Let’s suppose you’re the greatest thing since Wayne Gretzky. You’re out on the ice and you score three goals in one game (they call that a “hat trick”). Yet in the course of the contest, the other team puts five goals in your net and you’re out there for all of them. In the aggregate you’re actually a “minus two.”
Now that happens to everybody from time-to-time, but if that trend tends to repeat itself game over game throughout the course of a season and multiple campaigns all added up, eventually coaches and other players tend to catch on. And they think, “Hmm, that player does score some nice goals from time-to-time, but according to the way these numbers add up, we’re actually better off without him.”
This works outside of hockey as well. We all know “plus” and “minus” players.
“Plus” players, they walk into a room and everybody in there feels their spirit lighten up. Those people understand that it’s about “we” more than about “me.” It doesn’t matter if I’m the only one having success, if the rest of the team is losing, we all take responsibility. Those are “plus” players.
“Minus” players on the other hand, we all know those, at work and at home. The “minus” players come into the room and they suck the air right out of it. It doesn’t even necessarily matter that they might be the top-performing salesperson, or the manager in the corner office with the nice fancy little name plate, or maybe it’s uncle Larry who comes to Christmas and is the kind of relative who always has an answer for everything.
“Minus” players. These are the kinds of people who seem to think that all their problems would be solved if only they could find the right teammates. In those cases, maybe their answer is to have a little bit of a closer look at their own stat sheet.
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