Jim Craig is best known as the backbone of the 1980 Olympic Gold Medal Hockey Team, whose ‘Miracle’ win was voted by Sports Illustrated as the greatest moment in sports history of the 21st century. Craig, who started every game in goal, was a leading figure in the team’s success. One of the enduring images of the 1980 Games was of Craig, wrapped in an American flag, searching the stands for his widowed father in order to share the gold-medal-winning victory.
Before the Olympics, Jim was an All-American goalie at Boston University, leading his team to a NCAA national championship. After the ‘Miracle’ game, Jim went on to play professionally for three NHL teams, where he sustained a career-ending injury while playing for the Minnesota North Stars. He is enshrined in the Boston University Hall of Fame, the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame, the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, and the United States Olympic Hall of Fame and is a co-recipient of both the Lester Patrick award and the Sports Illustrated “Sportsman of the Year” award. He is also a graduate of Boston University and earned his doctorate in humane letters from Mercy College.
Following Jim’s professional hockey career, he transitioned his success into the corporate world as a motivational speaker, powerful salesman and corporate consultant. He has been inducted into the Sales Halls of Fame for two different companies, having increased a sales territory from $300,000 to $50 million in annual sales. Following this role, Jim moved on to become the Vice President of a promotional marketing agency. Under his guidance, the agency increased annual dollar sales by 80 percent and its number of clients by 30 percent in just two short years.
For more than 35 years, Jim has inspired, instructed and provided strategic and winning direction to some of the most prestigious companies across the world, including Kellogg’s, Bayer, Deloitte, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and Disney, as the successful owner and president of his company, Gold Medal Strategies. Jim has been selected three times as one of the top five speakers on team building in the United States, and has evolved to not only deliver motivational speeches, but host immersive corporate training programs that teach participants how to think differently and believe in their possibilities. Jim is the co-author of the highly acclaimed business book, Gold Medal Strategies: Business Lessons from America’s Miracle Team and recently released his newest book and legacy piece, We Win! Lessons on Life, Business & Building Your Own Miracle Team. In addition to his role with Gold Medal Strategies, Jim serves as a board member of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and he has a passion for leveraging his athletic and business success to help others achieve their full potential and lives in integrity with his mission every day!
Very few things great are done alone. Epic achievement is almost always the result of successful and enduring collaboration. Jim explains and details the elements of winning teamwork. He provides specific examples from the experience of the U.S. “Miracle on Ice” hockey team, and how it confounded the experts, made history and made it to the top of the podium.
Jim talks about the “stuff” and marrow of winners. Jim drills down and talks about the following: What winners share in the way of character. How they prepare. Their priorities. How they handle victory. How they handle defeat. Jim discusses what truly drives winners – the greatest winners.
Jim has studied and continues to study and research what inspires the pursuit of excellence in those who achieve greatness. He describes what is it that separates those content with good enough, and with all right, and with the okay and those who have an unquenchable thirst and drive to make history and establish the highest standards.
As Jim often tells audiences, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Jim shares the elements and fundamental components of goal setting, defining missions – and then going confidently and smartly in the direction of your dreams.
One of the nine “Gold Medal Strategies” that Jim teaches that he writes and speaks about is that Great Teams Manage Through Ego and Conflict. Jim tells the story of early on in their journey to Lake Placid and history, the players on the 1980 U.S. Olympic team were not working cooperatively; the team was beset by regional and personal rivalries. But the players got beyond the conflict – and they forged a team, and executed teamwork, for the ages.
Had the members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team – under the guidance and direction of Herb Brooks – not thrown off the old ways and play of U.S. international hockey had they not embraced a revolutionary form of the game they would not have beat the team that couldn’t be beat, and won the game that couldn’t be won. There would not have been any gold medal, any stop atop the podium. Jim talks about how he and his teammates executed that transformation and change – and how the example of that transformation and change can aid your organization to perform more effectively.
Great Teams Hold Themselves and Others Accountable – this is one of the nine “Gold Medal Strategies” that Jim teaches. Accountability, as Jim explains and breaks down, is an exercise in looking inward and demanding accountability of yourself – and then working together as a team to make sure that every person on the team is accountable and, as a team, helping people to be accountable and to better perform their job.
How do you inspire and impart confidence? How do leaders and teams accomplish this critical task? How do you pull greatness out of people? How do you challenge and inspire people to get outside their comfort zone – and to reach for what they at one time not thought reachable, and not attainable? Jim shares with you the tactics and strategies of confidence building.
Risk takers make history. If there is no risk, there is no great achievement. Jim talks about the risk taking enterprise that was the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. He shares more examples of risk taking in sports, business, and other areas of human endeavor that enabled greatness and the epic.
How do you find and identify the people who have the “stuff” and potential who will work for your system, culture, and mission? What is meant by the importance of not necessarily finding the “best” players but the “right” ones. Jim discusses and breaks down the elements of successful and winning recruiting.
“We want to thank you very much for being a keynote speaker at the annual event for The Family Care organization of Procter & Gamble. You spoke to our theme “Inspirational Players, Everyday Champions” brilliantly. This event was our highest rated in over 5 years… The attendees also appreciated the autographed picture of you with your strategies on the back and the opportunity to have their picture taken with you. Thank you for your overwhelming willingness to ensure your part contributed to a great event.”
“The leadership from our organization has been working with Jim Craig and Gold Medal Strategies in various ways for many years … Jim and his team are experts at developing materials that are relevant to our leaders. Jim has a natural talent for pulling out greatness! He challenges you to think differently, push harder and develop exceptional work through these calls. Jim will push you and challenge your team. He has helped me grow my leadership exponentially and is an amazing performance coach! I highly recommend Jim & Gold Medal Strategies!”
“If you are looking for someone who delivers at the highest level of motivation and professionalism, look no further than Jim Craig. Jim personalized his presentation to our audience while at the same time, touching on the key elements that have impacted his life, as well as the amazing events that have shaped who he is. I have been involved in securing and working with speakers for over 37 years and I can say, hands down, Jim is one of the finest people whom you will ever work with.”
“When I select speakers for our events, it is with the thought – ‘What’s the story? Will the employees be able to connect to the story? Is it great?’ These days, it is so hard to find someone that everyone in the audience can attach to, and Jim was brilliant at this. Throughout Jim’s messaging, he wove in the themes we express all the time as a company, which made it even better. The important step I took was reading Jim’s second book, “We Win,” to help prepare for the conversation we would have. The book told me something about Jim and his journey that you wouldn’t just get from watching the movie Miracle. The movie was about the thrill of the game, but when you read the story about Jim’s family, how he was discovered by mailman, the way his community banded together to support him, it humanizes the journey even more and it allowed me to dive in with questions and guide the conversation with a much more personal element. He uses powerful quotes throughout the book, which I loved because quotes are multi-generational and really bring people together. Jim made sure to leave the audience with specific things to remember – and the feedback I have received is, ‘Wow, Jim was incredible. Thank you for bringing Jim to us.’”
“Our virtual keynote with Jim Craig was a huge success. I was personally very impressed with the Gold Medal Strategies team from the beginning, where they took the time to truly prepare and get to know our organization’s aims and strategic objectives, ensuring Jim’s message would perfectly align. On the day of the event, Jim was very well spoken and natural behind the camera, and I believe his message was empowering for everyone tuned in. Jim did an excellent job at bringing everyone together during a time of great uncertainty. After speaking with passion about motivation and inspiration for about half an hour, Jim then engaged the team in a Q and A session, answering in an open and thoughtful way. I have received nothing but positive feedback and can’t recommend Jim and the Gold Medal Strategies team enough to bring your team together when the world is currently keeping them apart.”