Leadership Lab: Roger That

“Do you know what people would line up to thank you for at the end of your life?”

Welcome to Leadership Lab, a new weekly post from writer Chris DePiero. As you can read in his bio below, DePiero is as experienced as people get in hockey and we’re excited to give him a weekly platform to provide a hands-on approach to becoming a better leader. Every Tuesday DePiero will share knowledge, wisdom, tips and tricks that everyone from elite executives to passionate parents can learn from. Enjoy!


The great Roger Federer announced his retirement a couple of weeks ago. 

He leaves tennis as one of the game’s all-time greatest players. Federer has 20 Grand Slam titles, and numerous other championships to his credit, including 103 ATP singles titles, 28 ATP Masters titles, and a record six ATP Finals. In his final match, played out in London, England, the 41-year-old displayed his ever-present professionalism, grace, and class.

Afterwards, there was a celebration of his greatness. Participating in this celebration were the current greats of the game, from Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, to Andy Murray. 

Djokovic said that watching Federer say goodbye “was a very touching, very emotional moment.” He went on to say that he started to think about how it would be for him when he said farewell to tennis, and whether it would be that emotional for those in attendance.

This reminded me of an interview I heard with leadership expert Andy Stanley. He said he always gets his clients to ask themselves one question:

“Do you know what people would line up to thank you for at the end of your life?”

Now this is not something I believe you can just speak about, it has to be something you live out on a daily basis. Something that your players can feel and connect with. Then you know you had an impact. 

Coaches, you make an impact every day you’re on the job, whether it’s with a U6 Timbits team, a U20 World Junior team or something in between. So the next time you feel like you’re not moving the needle, think of Stanley’s question and see what comes to mind. I bet there’s more than you think.


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Chris De Piero

Chris is a Senior High-Performance Coach and has spent the past 30+ years in the game of hockey as a player, Head Coach, General Manager, scout, mentor, consultant and most importantly as a parent. He has done so in the NHL, with Hockey Canada, in the OHL and the OHA, as well as European pro hockey. In addition, he has spent 15+ years as a classroom teacher as well as being in leadership positions as an administrator with a private high school in Toronto.

Chris has coached over 100 players who have played and/or been drafted into the NHL, and 100+ players who have gone on to play NCAA or USport hockey. He has won multiple championships as a Head Coach and GM, notably winning a Stanley Cup ring from being a member of the scouting staff of the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2012-2016.

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