"Hiring is the most underestimated executive skill that exists. If you hire well, you have a chance that really good things will happen."

- John McDonough       

He was the president of the Chicago Blackhawks since 2007. He completely changed the team’s direction, driving exponential growth in both mindset and business. In the following lines, you’ll discover this success story that was directly inspired by the phrase we shared earlier “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” ~ Steve Jobs.

And you might wonder how the CEO of Apple, a multinational technology company, influenced John McDonough, the president of a hockey team, when they are entirely different businesses?

Forbes called John Macdonough’s tenure “The greatest change in sports business history.” As president, he managed to grow the team’s season ticketholder base from 3,400 to more than 14,000. The team won 3 Stanley Cups and led NHL attendance for 8 consecutive seasons.

John McDonough gave a speech at a press conference held at the Aurora Visitor and Convention Bureau, whitch appeared in the Daily Herald Business Ledger. During his presentation, as Business Ledger recounts, McDonough revealed the key to his success.


“Hiring is the most underestimated executive skill that exists. If you hire well, you have a chance that really good things will happen.” – John McDonough       

His key was hiring. Not just hiring, but hiring the right people. He said: “Hiring is the most underestimated executive skill that exists. If you hire well, you have a chance that really good things will happen.” He also advised: “Step back and let these bright people you’ve hired do their job. Ask really good questions, make sure they know you’re supporting them, and let them do their thing. And at some point, students leap ahead of the teacher. The reward for it is incalculable.”

So, Steve Jobs tells us that we need a team to achieve greatness, and John McDonough and Matt Mullenweg tell us to hire well to bring truly great people into our team. Even the author of “Good to Great,” Jim Collins, believes that we need to get the right people on the bus and make sure they’re in the right seats.

What were John's main achievements leading the local Chicago team?

1. Change of Mindset: Steve Jobs’ phrase reflects the idea that business success depends on collective effort and collaboration, rather than relying solely on one individual. John McDonough adopted this mindset to drive a change in the organizational culture of the Blackhawks, fostering a sense of community and teamwork.

2. Building a Strong Team: Following Jobs’ philosophy, McDonough could have prioritized building a cohesive and collaborative team at all levels of the organization, from administrative staff to players on the ice.

3. Valuing Every Contribution: The phrase highlights the importance of each individual on the team. McDonough recognized the diversity of skills and talents in the Blackhawks and encouraged each member to bring their unique expertise to achieve common goals.

4. Culture of Collaboration: Inspired by the notion that “great things are never done by one person,” McDonough promoted a culture where open communication, collaboration, and mutual support were essential for team success.

5. Distributed Leadership: Just as Jobs valued the contribution of his team, McDonough delegated responsibilities and empowered internal leaders to encourage more collective and participative decision-making.

6. Innovation and Creativity: Inspired by Jobs’ philosophy, McDonough fostered innovation and creativity within the organization, encouraging team members to think boldly and generate new, groundbreaking ideas.

In summary, the philosophy of teamwork and collaboration influenced his leadership within the Chicago Blackhawks. The belief that success is achieved through the collective effort of a team strongly resonated in his approach to building a solid team, integrating goalkeepers, defenders, strikers, as well as administrative staff, to achieve outstanding successes in the world of ice hockey.

How important was the task of "hiring well" for John McDonough?

The task of hiring well was of great importance to John McDonough during his time as president and CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks. Here are some reasons why hiring well was crucial for McDonough:

1. Building a Winning Team: In the sports world, on-court success heavily relies on having a team of talented, disciplined, and committed players. McDonough understood that selecting the right players was essential to build a winning and competitive team in the NHL.

2. Creating a Cohesive Culture: A sports team’s culture is fundamental to its performance and cohesion. Hiring players aligned with the values and vision of the Blackhawks allowed McDonough to cultivate a consistent culture of effort, passion, and excellence throughout the organization.

3. Impact on On-Ice Performance: The quality of players hired directly impacts the team’s on-ice performance. McDonough recognized that choosing players with complementary skills and the potential to improve the team could influence game and season outcomes.

4. Enhancing the Fan Experience: Beyond players, administrative and customer service staff also play a role in the overall fan experience. Hiring friendly, competent, and passionate staff to provide an exceptional game experience was essential for attracting and retaining fans.

5. Business Strategy: McDonough applied hiring as part of his business strategy. Hiring leaders and experts in marketing, sales, finance, and other key areas would contribute to revenue growth and the expansion of the Blackhawks brand.

6. Establishment of Leadership: Key leaders within the organization, such as coaches and executives, are essential for making strategic decisions and leading the team to success. Choosing capable and visionary leaders was a crucial factor in the team’s transformation.

In this success case, we clearly recognize the importance of personnel in a company, as it’s better to work with a perfectly integrated team rather than individuals. And above all, the task of hiring well. Can you imagine these benefits applied to your company? At Creative Personnel, we take care of hiring well for your company, so you will be responsible for leading your team to success.

At Creative Personnel, we focus on making your company a great team
by hiring the right people.