Like everyone, Dr. Timothy Bain, a chiropractor from Wesley Chapel, has had to adapt due to concerns about COVID-19.
Unlike the vast majority of people, though, Bain’s adjustments have been more extreme.
As the Tampa Bay Lightning’s team chiropractor, he was in a traveling party that spent a combined 65 days at hotels in Toronto and then Edmonton through the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Stanley Cup title run.
Bain was “in the bubble” from late July through late September, while games were played without fans in attendance and measures were taken to allow teams to safely complete the NHL playoffs.
The chief executive officer of B3 Medical shared some of the lessons he learned from the experience, and other insights he’s gleaned along life’s way, during a Zoom business breakfast meeting on March 2, with members of the North Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce.
One lesson Bain shared involves the importance of learning from failure.
“You’re going to fail. Everybody fails. Everybody fails a lot. You’re going to fail more often as a business leader and a business owner, I think than the average person — because we’re willing to fail.
“We look at, ‘How am I going to succeed?’ And, the answer is, ‘You’re going to fail — a lot of times,” he said.
In the season the year before claiming the Stanley Cup, the Lightning failed.
“We failed. Really miserably. In front of everybody,” the team’s chiropractor said.
“We won the President’s Trophy, which meant we had the best record in hockey. In fact, we had a historic season, then we went to Columbus and we just got swept right out of the playoffs.
“Nobody could believe it. We couldn’t believe it. I’m sure none of the fans could believe it.
“It was embarrassing.
“But we learned.
“Some of the things that we learned were: Maybe we brought guys back too quickly. Maybe we didn’t bring them back fast enough. Some of our rehab didn’t work as well as we thought it was going to. Maybe we needed some different characters in the room.
“Maybe we needed some different character,” he said.
Failure can be a valuable teacher: The important thing is to fail forward, Bain said.
“Every time you fail, make sure you’re moving forward. You learn something from it, and you move forward to your ultimate goal,” he said.
“With the Lightning, I think, the obvious ultimate goal is a big, shiny Stanley Cup — which is the most revered trophy in sports,” he said.
Lumps and bumps, along the way
The story of the Stanley Cup championship season didn’t start off well.
“The beginning of the season, was truthfully ugly for us,” Bain said.
But the team picked up Pat Maroon, who was a catalyst in breaking up team cliques, he said.
“Sometimes, it just really takes one person to get those cliques to start to work together, so you can start to move forward,” Bain said.
The team made some deals at the end of the season, to bring more grit to its game. It had to go into the playoffs with a different attitude, and style, and that was a hard adjustment for some players, he said.
“Guys wanted to play the old-style of Lightning hockey, which is fast, furious, move it around, score tons of goals. And, in the playoffs, really you can’t do that,” Bain said.
He said he knew the team had reached a turning point when it won a game that had five overtimes.
One moment, in particular, stood out to him.
“I remember at the end of the fourth overtime, the guys came in, I’m thinking: ‘These guys are going to be exhausted.’ The first thing I see, is somebody said, ‘This is fun, isn’t it? I can’t wait. I hope we have another one of these things.’
“That was cool. Right then and there, I knew we were going to win that game,” Bain said, because of the players’ mindset.
“Our identity now was: ‘We’re not going to lose this thing. We’ve got this.’,” Bain added.
In today’s business climate, COVID-19 brings a lot of fear and anxiety.
The Lightning overcame challenges.
“We dealt with adversity upon adversity. Guys getting hurt. We lost our captain.
“It didn’t matter what the obstacle was. We had a notion that failure was not an option this year,” Bain said.
“We created a plan. We worked the plan. We trusted the plan,” he said. “We had to adapt. We adapted better than other teams.”
“Every business creates a plan at the beginning of year. ‘OK, I’m going to execute on the strategy,’” he said.
But, it’s important to periodically check back on that plan: What worked? What didn’t work? What needs to change?
During COVID, employers and employees have faced a multitude of changes.
Some employees work at home. Some are dealing with child care issues. Some are sick, or have family members who are sick. Some have lost loved ones to COVID.
Employers need to keep a pulse on what’s happening with their staff, he said.
“So, there’s got to be an element that we bring into our businesses, of empathy and trust. And, we’ve got to make sure that we’re there for our employees and our team members, because they’re going through stuff as much if not worse than we are. They’re fearful for their jobs, they’re fearful for their life, they’re fearful for their families,” he added.
It’s important to stay focused on the company’s ultimate goal, and for staff to have buy-in.
“In a company, everybody is a cog in the wheel, and without each piece, you can’t really get anywhere,” Bain said. “If you’re having one person who is inside your team, who doesn’t know their role, or doesn’t understand their role, inside of the bigger picture — or doesn’t understand the big picture — it can really derail what you’re trying to do,” Bain said.
With the Lightning, “the mission was really obvious,” Bain said. They had to make it to the last game of the season, or they had failed.
“It was about putting the right team of people, on the ice. It was about putting the right team of people behind the people on the ice,” Bain said.
The same is true for companies that are in pursuit of a goal.
The shiny object may vary, but he said: “We all want to win our Stanley Cup.”
Published March 31, 2021