Phenomenal Outcomes


By Doug Smith and Ron Wiens

Belief is a powerful force in attaining phenomenal outcome for individuals and organizations alike. Within organizations, the Leader’s role in supporting phenomenal outcomes is to foster belief in self, belief in others, and belief in the organization’s purpose.

At a glance

  • Phenomenal outcomes become possible when individuals and organizations truly believe that they are possible.
  • To lead organizations to phenomenal outcomes, Leaders begin by building belief.
  • The Leaders’ role in building beliefs is to foster three core intelligences:
    • Emotional Intelligence (Belief in Self);
    • Relationship Intelligence (Belief in Others);
    • Corporate Intelligence (Belief in the Organization).


Doug Shares:

Like the blade of a skate cutting a line through the cold, hard ice, change is sharp. It does not happen over time; change occurs in an instant.

Blinded by the sheer impact, my body collapsed on itself with my head resting on my gloves. I didn’t know it yet, but the head-on collision with the boards had just shattered my 5th and 6th cervical vertebrae in more than 100 places and had torn all of the ligaments in the back of my neck. I should have been dead, like a bird hitting a window in full flight, but I was conscious and aware. My life changed in an instant, and I began the search for a phenomenal outcome.

This was not the first time I had experienced a painful transition, only to be told by experts that a phenomenal outcome was not possible; it wouldn’t be the last time either. The challenge with any of us achieving a better-than-average outcome is that we tend to use our “will” and our ego, rather than hand things over to our imagination and belief. It’s natural for us to want to accept responsibility and feel in control. But at our core, we don’t believe we can pull it off and our limited beliefs deliver poor outcomes.

Realising our greatest potential requires that we embrace our imagination and let ourselves believe in the infinite power that is available to all of us.

Realizing our greatest potential requires that we embrace our imagination and let ourselves believe in the infinite power that is available to all of us. By tapping into that power, we can reach our full potential and realize phenomenal outcomes. We have already been given everything necessary to create the picture of what we desire and to achieve it. It comes into focus as we think about it, move towards it, remain open to other perspectives, and never, ever quit.


After 25 years of being conditioned to play a specific role, everything about how I defined myself as a person had suddenly been taken away. In a flash, the ego which had carried me through a thousand battles had become an anchor which would slowly drag me to the bottom if I allowed it to. The honeymoon with my professional hockey career was over. How could I hold on to, harness, and focus the powerful emotions I possessed and use them to help override the illusions and physical barriers that I was faced with during this latest transition?


“Support exists only if you believe it exists. If you do not believe it exists, it will never be found or accepted.”

The fact that I was able to play professional hockey at all was my first experience with phenomenal outcomes.   At the age of two, doctors discovered that I had soft-tissue deformities that twisted my legs, and that my left kneecap was in two pieces. My mother made the difficult decision to put me in full leg braces. This was the first time I felt the contrast of confinement and the difficulty of being seen as physically disabled. At that stage of my life, you would not have been able to find any doctor or individual who believed I would ever become one of the top athletes in the world within the next fifteen years. No one, that is, except my mother — and I believed her. Fortunately, many people who saw me struggling to stand up would tell this child in leg braces that he could do it, and I believed them, too.

We can optimize transitions for every person, every team, every business, and every organization to varying degrees.

Years later, when I was paralyzed from the chest down, my wife Patti told me that I would get up and walk again – with our newborn child – and I believed her. She was right. I have found that belief, in its simplest form, is incredibly powerful. Believing others when they encourage and support you can convince you that they are right! “What if it really IS that easy?”

If you agree that everyone benefits from this form of support, then I ask you, “Who are you supporting today, who did you support yesterday, and who will you be supporting tomorrow?” We can optimize transitions for every person, every team, every business, and every organization to varying degrees. We each have the opportunity to harness this power, which we cannot see; this power of belief, trust, and support.


As the cost of speed and space on the internet drops to zero and the World Wide Web transitions to an extension of the human mind, our ability to use this extension creatively will now require ongoing personal and organizational transition. Learning to deal with transition is now directly related to the level of performance you achieve, and the prosperity your organization will experience. So how do you build an organization that is able to tap into the competitive advantage of ongoing transition that will take your organization to the top of its game? You start by building belief.


Ron weighs in:

In the Old West, they used to say, “There are just two types of people – the quick and the dead.” Today, the phrase might be, “There are just two types of organizations – the quick and the dying“. Our “knowledge economy” has introduced a new set of rules when it comes to managing and leading. The Quick recognize this and embrace a culture built on belief as the path to high-performance. The Dying are hanging on for dear life to the ways that have brought them success in the past.

The Internet has taken us into a digital world where people are connected not only to each other but also to each other’s knowledge. In 1975, the cumulative, codified knowledge of the world doubled every seven years. The prediction is that before the end of the current decade, this knowledge will double every ELEVEN hours! The shelf life of knowledge will be the same as that for a banana.

Competitive advantage today lies in an organization’s ability to exploit this explosion of knowledge. Knowledge is a resource locked in the human mind. People can not be forced to create or share knowledge. Every individual possesses unique insights that can only be put to use with his/her active cooperation. Getting that cooperation is key to success in the modern economy. This means that the critical driver of economic prosperity is having leaders who can build an organizational culture that engages and leverages its “knowledge workers.”

The modern leader’s job is to build an environment that gets the knowledge workers working together

Within this environment, engaged knowledge workers freely give up their knowledge in order to move their organization towards its desired future.


There are three steps that leaders must take to build such an environment.

Emotional Intelligence:

The first step is to help people to believe in themselves. Today’s winning organizations have employees who are invested in taking their organization to new places. This dynamic occurs naturally when employees believe in themselves and have the courage and confidence to try new things. They learn from their mistakes and move on. When they get stuck, they are the first to recognize it and they freely ask for help. Their ability to ask for help makes things go faster. The degree to which people believe in themselves is a measure of your organization’s Emotional Intelligence (EI).

Relationship Intelligence:

The second step is to build an organization in which people care about each other. How can caring affect an organization’s performance? James Autry, former CEO of the Publisher Group, eloquently said “I need to know that you care before I care to know what you know.” Caring is the basis of trust. If I know that you care about me and my success, then I can trust you. If I can trust you, I can speak openly and frankly with you. If I can speak openly and frankly with you, we can solve problems together. If we can solve problems together, then we can leverage each other’s creativity and knowledge, and in so doing, accelerate our organization forward. The ability of your people to have a trusting belief in each other is a measure of your organization’s Relationship Intelligence (RI).

Corporate Intelligence:

The third step that leaders must take is to instill common cause. When people are deeply connected to cause, they deliver extraordinary results. There is genuine caring about the success of the whole. This caring is the source of power that drives the organization and the individuals within it to incredible heights. Cause defines an organizations culture and keeps it focused by providing incentive to change. Without common cause, an organization is like a ball in a pinball game -bouncing around hoping to score well. Without cause, this year ends up looking a lot like last year. Cause needs to be made explicit – constantly discussed and thought about. In winning organizations, employees believe in their organization and what it is trying to achieve. The strength of your people’s belief in your desired future is a measure of your organization’s Corporate Intelligence (CI).

In the knowledge economy, organizations need leaders that are capable of building a community of people who are plugged-in, turned-on, and in-tune with their organization. You do this by building your organization with people who believe in themselves, believe in each other, and believe in what the organization is trying to achieve. This represents a transformation in how we lead.

The  Leader’s  Role

  • Building  EI  requires  the  organization’s  leaders  to  help  its  members  connect  with their  successes  – to  see  themselves  as  being  successful.    When  this  happens, change  becomes  exciting.
  • Building  RI requires  the  organization’s  leaders  to  help  its  members  connect  with each  other  – to  develop  a  personal  appreciation  for  each  other.    When  this  happens,  the  success  of  others  becomes  as  important  as  individual  success.
  • Building  CI  requires  the  organization’s  leaders  to  build  a  passionate understanding  of  the  desired  future – an  understanding  that  connects  the members  with  the  difference  that  they  will  be  making  in  the  lives  of  others.   When  this  happens,  each  and  every  member  of  the  organization owns the  organization and  its  future.


Doug Smith is the author of Thriving in Transition and is a former 2nd pick overall into the NHL. After a broken neck and spinal cord injury ended Doug’s professional career, he transformed himself building a new career as a successful entrepreneur and business leader. To contact Doug, send him an email at

Ron Wiens has spent the past 30 years helping organizations build high performance cultures. His most recent book, titled ‘Building Organizations that Leap Tall Buildings in a Single Bound’ is a leader’s guide to culture as competitive advantage. To contact Ron, send him an email at