Hockey Pucks and Honesty – Are you in the Penalty Box?

Professional sports events often include half-time events that invite fans to the floor with a chance to win a prize.  Well, did you hear about the celebrity hockey game in Minnesota last week?  It included one of those “win a prize” contests but had some surprise endings.

Nate and Nick Smith are 11-year old identify twins.  At halftime, Nick sank a puck from center ice between a three-and-a-half-inch cutout in the goal during a fan promotion. Smith had a $10 raffle ticket for the chance to shoot; it turned into a $50,000 prize.

If that’s where the story ends, we would simply congratulate Nick with such an amazing shot and ask him how he might enjoy the $50,000 prize.  Click here to see his amazing shot.

However, there’s more this story.  Read on or you may click here for the news story.

So what happened? Well, as it turns out, Nick didn’t actually make the shot.  His brother Nate did – posing as his brother – because Nick had stepped outside the arena when names were drawn.

In quick response, the boys’ father sent Nate to the ice to substitute for his brother.  Who could have known he would make the shot and win the $50,000 prize!

The next day, the twins’ dad told the organizers of the game that Nate was the one who took the shot, not Nick.  Now, the reward money is in question due to the  sponsor’s contract and the event has created quite a stir in online communities.

Interesting turn of events. Can we learn anything from a hockey game and apply lessons to our workplace?  Consider these three takeways:

#1 Do good intentions justify an untruth?
$50,000 would provide a college education for Nate and Nick.  What an opportunity!  And what are the odds that the puck would be successful?  We can’t get inside the dad’s head (or Nate’s  for that matter),  but more than likely this was a “once in a lifetime” chance,  so to ensure his sons had a chance, the witcheroo took place.

Did he mean well?  Absolutely.   Did it backfire? Yes.  In fact, because of the sponsor guidelines, it is undetermined if the boys will actually win the money.  Bottom line?  Even the best of intentions  can create negative consequences when an untruth is involved.

#2 Is delayed honesty worthy of reward?
The twins’ dad contacted the sponsor the following day with the intent to “make things right”. Does his honesty count?  Well, yes! But is it too late?  It’s always the right time to be honest – regardless of your circumstances.  But you must remember, any untruth you create – even those accidental ones – can be much tougher to mend.  Yes, you get the credit for coming clean, but be prepared for some clean up.  And keep in mind the memory you have created for others – you’re an honest person…eventually.

#3 Are you aware of your personal traps when faced with a integrity shortcut?
Put yourself in this dad’s shoes.  It’s halftime and your son’s name is called over the loud speaker.  Although that son is not sitting in his seat, his twin brother is.  In the hustle and bustle of racing to the ice  in an effort to not miss the opportunity, a small lie is uttered.  Nate becomes Nick and vice versa.  That split second decision was a trap.  Did the dad see it coming?  Probably not.  And you know what? We don’t either.  These split-second decision moments happen all the time.  Are you prepared when faced with a difficult decision – one that can test your integrity?  You see,  the key is to know the answer to this question BEFORE it is asked.  For when faced with a quick dilemma, without safeguards we typically fail.

So, what’s your hockey game? Are you skating near the penalty box? Thoughts?  Does this topic strike a chord for you or your organization? Share your insights.  In today’s marketplace,  we can’t afford to mess this one up.

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