The extraordinary power of a simple check-in


Henrik passing the proverbial torch: the captaincy of the Canucks to Bo Horvat

“I didn’t think much of it at the time; I just wanted to talk to him and see how he was doing."

Bo Horvat was in his sophomore season as a professional hockey player for the Vancouver Canucks. He was in a slump, suffering through a 27-game goal drought.  The quote above is from Henrik Sedin, captain of the Vancouver Canucks at the time. Henrik is a legend in Vancouver for his contributions both on and off the ice. He was reflecting on a morning skate in Philadelphia when he checked in with the struggling Bo. During that morning skate, Henrik related to Bo that he had also gone through slumps. He encouraged Bo, advising him to stay focused on the positives and to keep working at things. What I find interesting about this is that Henrik "didn't think much of it at the time." But it certainly had a significant impact on Bo. "I think about it all the time. To have somebody of that stature come up to me and say he's been there and actually done a lot worse, to expose yourself like that to bring somebody else up... I'll never forget that. I'll remember that the rest of my life." Bo Horvat came out of the slump. This year he was named the 14th captain in the history of the Canucks. One of the qualities of inspiring leadership is being a multiplier. Being a multiplier is having the ability to inspire others to be their best, even when you aren't around. You can't be everywhere all the time. Try it, and you are likely going to find yourself on the road to burnout. Being a multiplier doesn't need to take up a lot of time. It can be as simple as having a 10-minute check-in where you are present. Where you listen, ask questions, and encourage. Ask yourself, who could use a simple check-in today? Or later this week? Where might I be a multiplier by spending 10 minutes checking in with someone, which could result in a significant boost to their engagement and performance? Ask questions and listen during your check-ins. Open-ended questions that start with "what" are very powerful and help people dig through an issue or opportunity. Here is a list of questions you can ask:


  • What's on your mind?

  • What is the challenge here?

  • What do you want? What do you need?

  • What is possible?

  • What is the opportunity here?

  • What is getting in the way?

  • What options can you create?


Sometimes a simple check-in like this can go a long way to helping someone feel support during a tough time. Who will you check in with and be a multiplier for this week?

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