What is Your +/- Ratio?

The sports world is full of statistics that measure any and every aspect of the game, team and players.

I recently came across a hockey statistic that really peaked my interest! Now I don’t pretend to be a hockey fan. I’ve been to a few games which were awesome, but for whatever reason it’s a sport where I never latched onto a team or could keep up with the schedule – so this post isn’t about me pretending to be a hockey expert.

All that aside, I recently heard about the “+/- Ratio” and how it can factor in to the mix of players on the ice. For those who aren’t familiar with it (like me), I looked it up and found the following explanation:

The +/- Ratio: A sports statistic used to measure a player’s impact on the game, represented by the difference between their team’s total scoring versus their opponent’s when the player is in the game.

Learning about this stat really made me reflect on what my +/- Ratio would be in my personal and professional life…

Are we winning more as a company or team with me on the field? Is my family happier, healthier and more fulfilled when we are all together, or am I actually taking away from the team or family’s goals and well-being when I’m in the mix?

It was a gut check… or maybe a cross check since we are talking about hockey today. (See what I did there).

What would your +/- Ratio be? Are you bringing more to those around you when you are around, or are you taking away from their momentum, success and enjoyment?

Improve Your +/- Ratio

As you reflect on what your ratio might be, ask yourself if it is where you want it to be? Regardless of whether you are already knocking it out of the park or know that you aren’t positively impacting the team like you want, let’s take a few minutes to look at some ways we can all elevate our game and improve our ratio to create a more positive impact in the world around us.


So much of our personal or professional improvement is built upon our self awareness. If someone thinks they are the greatest gift to their team or organization yet in reality are pulling everyone down and negatively impacting their overall effectiveness, then they must gain a new level of awareness if anything can possibly improve.

Think about how you are showing up in your organization, family or community. Where are you elevating people’s game and where are you potentially holding them back.

Allows yourself to be honest with where you are playing big and where you are coming up short. And don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Even if you are scoring multiple goals a game or are putting up monster sales numbers, be aware of whether you are crushing those around you in the process. If we don’t have the support of our team and support system, those high results won’t last for long…

Know Your Role

What was most interesting about the +/- Ratio is that a player can have a strong statistic even if they don’t score a single goal!

Many of us may think that if we aren’t adding to our team’s score, closing the big deals or leading the big projects then we aren’t making an impact.

The good news is, that thought couldn’t be further from the truth.

Now if you know that your team looks to you and relies on you for those things (the goals, touchdowns, big deals, etc.), then go all in on improving your game in those areas and continually working towards mastering that craft.

And if not, then acknowledge the role that you do play and still go all in on improving your game in those areas and continually working towards mastering that craft.

Maybe your defense is second to none and you are playing a huge role in preventing the other team from scoring. Perhaps you are gathering all the research or crunching through all the analysis to make that big deal go through or ensure the project you are supporting is successful. And maybe you are the master of the assist – seeing the bigger picture and flow of the game. You recognize the momentum shifts and sense what’s going to happen before it does, and as a result, put your teammates in the right spots to capitalize on any open opportunities.

Whatever your role – formal or informal – know that you can have a massive impact whether you are in the spot light or behind the scenes.

Elevate Those Around You

While the +/- Ratio is an individual statistic, let’s remember that it is extremely team oriented in the process. So even if you have the best +/- Ratio on the team, think of how much better both you and the team would be if you helped others elevate their game and improve their own individual ratio.

If you shine in areas that others do not, mentor and coach them up. As the saying goes, high tides raise all ships. Be that high tide for your team and elevate everyone’s game. By adopting this mentality you can accelerate the path toward achieving both your individual and team / organizational / family goals.

Measure Your Ratio

I want to use the term measure loosely here. While it may be easier to measure your +/- Ratio in sports or in certain industries where performance can be directly related to a result, it may not be so straightforward in other areas of life. Yet, measurement is critical to our improvement over time.

With that said, I don’t want people to dismiss this +/- Ratio concept if they can’t measure it for themselves, or simply don’t want to measure something else in their life. I definitely get it, and consider myself in the camp of not easily being able to tie my performance back to a very specific end result.

So, for those of us who can and want to measure our ratio, I encourage you to do so and track your progress and improvement over time. Going even further, start to elevate your team and track how the team and organization begin to improve in the process. As a leader, begin to determine who those optimal teams are and put them on the biggest projects and challenges to drive high performance and accelerate progress towards the goal.

And for those of us who can’t easily measure, consider the +/- Ratio as a gut check for our lives. Take the time to reflect on your performance and impact at home, work and in your community.

Do you leave things better than when you found them? Do these groups become more successful, higher performing and exhibit a better culture when you are part of them? Are your contributions missed when you aren’t around? Or, considering the opposite side of the coin, does the team or organization not perform as well when you are involved? Do our attitudes and work ethic hold things back?

Regardless of whether we can or can’t quantitatively measure this ratio for ourselves, and regardless of whether the numbers or gut check show we are helping or hurting the team, be tuned into how your presence and performance affects your family, organization and community. This is information that we can all use to improve, and we will only improve if we acknowledge our truth.

So again and in closing, I encourage all of us to reflect on the impact we are making. Reflect on any quantitative or qualitative measures you have regarding your +/- Ratio, and leverage that information to take action and make yourself 1% better today.

Live your life in a way that makes the world better when you are on the field.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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