Connect with us

Opinion Editorials

Build your championship business using Nick Saban’s process

(OPINION EDITORIAL) When it comes to winning, The University of Alabama’s Nick Saban knows a thing or two. Here’s how to take what he knows and use it for your business.

Published

on

nick saban trophy process

Growing up in Alabama, the end of summer and cooler temperatures of fall signal the start of the most important season to Alabama residents – college football. Unless you’ve lived there, it’s almost impossible to appreciate the fervor that surrounds Alabama and Auburn football.

At an early age, every citizen picks his team: “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle!” There are no fence-sitters. You’re either with us or against us, and your college allegiance follows you for the rest of your life.

So, as a graduate of Auburn University, it pains me to admit that the University of Alabama football team is maybe the highest achieving sports organization in the world. That includes all professional and amateur sports teams.

Over the past eight years, the Crimson Tide has finished the season as the National Champion four times and barely missed a fifth championship.

With 128 schools competing in Division 1 of the NCAA football, it’s an unbelievable accomplishment to capture 50% of the titles over that time period. And unlike professional teams, Alabama starts every year with a team that has 20-25% new players (a.k.a. freshmen).

So even as a diehard Auburn fan, I think it’s worth taking the time to study what Nick Saban, the head coach of Alabama, is doing to build and lead these championship teams. And more importantly, how we can apply those leadership skills to our business organizations.

Saban is dedicated to a philosophy he calls “The Process.”

He likes to say, “We’re not going to talk about what we’re going to accomplish. We’re going to talk about how we’re going to do it.” Emphasizing the “how” over the “what” puts the focus on execution. In short, what do you have to do day in and day out to be the best you can be?

A key to his approach is to focus only on the things you can control. It’s about executing consistently in the moment without getting distracted by the desired outcome. If his players and coaches execute consistently at a high level, he knows they will win games and championships will follow.

One of the benefits of the University of Alabama being a consistent winner is that the school attracts and recruits the most talented, sought-after high school players in the country. And regardless of the talent of these athletes, the first step in their indoctrination to Alabama football is learning the Saban way.

All players learn “The Process,” which dictates how they practice, communicate, train, study, run plays and prepare mentally. Every player at Alabama knows that if he doesn’t follow “The Process,” he won’t be part of the team, regardless of his talent.

Saban only has his players at Alabama for a few years. So, it’s critical that they understand that the Alabama program is bigger than any one player.

It’s a similar situation in business. We know that any team member could leave, get sick, take vacation and ultimately retire. Therefore, we must establish and consistently follow a process like the Crimson Tide.

Applying “The Process” to your business means that your employees focus on their activities, not the outcomes, just like Saban’s players. Each team member is responsible for executing each activity to the best of that person’s ability.

As a leader, you start by making sure each role in your organization has a handful of key performance indicators (KPIs) – activities that the team member executes on a daily or weekly basis. Once you’ve established those primary activities, a manager should work consistently to develop the team member’s ability to perform those activities.

A classic example of how to apply this philosophy is in the sales role. Many sales managers simply focus on each salesperson’s monthly sales goal. While they may have to produce $100,000 in new sales each month to justify their compensation, we can’t manage (coach) by focusing on the “what.” The $100,000 in new revenue is the “what.”

A good manager will work with the salesperson to determine the measurable activities (the “how”) they need to perform on a daily or weekly basis that will ultimately generate $100,000 in new sales.

The activities might include some combination of the following: number of daily cold calls, number of weekly prospect meetings, number of proposals sent each week, number of presentations to decision makers made each week, number of hours per day building a network and number of thank you notes written per week.

Under Saban’s leadership philosophy, salespeople should be consistently coached to execute at their highest level of performance for each of those activities. Once they execute at a high level, the “what” will take care of itself.

With the football season fast approaching, I’m confident about three things: 1) The citizens of Alabama will still be split between “Roll Tide” and “War Eagle.” 2) The University of Alabama will once again field a championship-caliber team. 3) You can apply “The Process” in your organization to create a high-performing business.

Certified Petra Coach Rob Simons draws upon his 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, brand expert and business coach. Rob founded PixelWorks Corporation in 1993 to serve the interactive advertising industry and in 1996 he founded Toolbox Studios, Inc., one of the most respected branded content marketing firms in Texas. Rob sold Toolbox Studios in 2015 to focus exclusively on business coaching, which includes certification as a Gazelles International Four Decisions™ coach. An active member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), Rob is currently a “Master” EO Strategy Summit Facilitator and an EO Accelerator Instructor. In 2007, the San Antonio Business Journal named him one of San Antonio’s “40 Under 40.”

Opinion Editorials

If Reddit goes IPO, will it have to shed its soul?

(EDITORIAL) Reddit is known as a firebrand, a bastion of free speech, but if they go public, will they be able to remain as they are now?

Published

on

reddit

Reddit, the eighth-most popular website on the Internet, is reportedly considering an IPO. As a site valued at over 1.8 billion dollars, this is great news for the company itself – but how much of Reddit will remain if the IPO goes through?

Reddit’s history is steeped in controversy, from minor incidents such as invasion of privacy and a few creepily quirky community members to allegations of child pornography and egregious hate speech. While Reddit’s policy has allowed it to tighten posting restrictions regarding the latter two, the fact remains that Reddit – for all its usefulness – is viewed by many as a ticking time bomb.

An IPO would certainly lend back to Reddit a degree of credibility not seen since its inception, but the problem is that Reddit itself (the haven of free speech and original content that made it so popular in the first place) might not survive the offering. Given the platform’s controversial past, many believe it likely that stakeholders would move to tighten further the restrictions on the platform, ultimately ending a significant era in Reddit’s history.

Admittedly, Reddit has come a long way since its early days of supporting user-created content regardless of persuasion: this past year saw entire subreddits shut down for violating the terms of use regarding hate speech, and the platform certainly has cracked down on illegal and abusive content. Unfortunately, the history might be too much to shake off going forward, which is why we think that Reddit’s branding won’t be a part of the final IPO.

The platform’s developers’ dedication to free speech and truth-seeking is what makes Reddit so fantastic, and that’s not liable to change – it’s the most marketable aspect of the site, after all – but perhaps the rationale behind going public lies in a sense of duty rather than routine. 2017 has seen some of the most reprehensible instances of false reporting and deliberate misguidance in recent history; maybe Reddit’s team feels that they can provide a stable news platform at the cost of some personality.

At any rate, the IPO itself isn’t set in stone, and is unlikely to take place for quite some time. As the situation develops, it will be interesting to see if Reddit embraces its past, or sheds it altogether.

Continue Reading

Opinion Editorials

‘Follow your passion and the money will follow’ is bulls**t advice

(EDITORIAL) Following your passion can create success, though it may not be financial. So should you really just “do what you love” and hope for the best?

Published

on

follow your passion

If you asked anyone who knows me, they would tell you that I’m a strong advocate for people following their passion. However, when I encourage people to pursue their dreams, this comes with a big asterisk.

I recently heard someone use a phrase along the lines of, “if you do what you love, the money will follow.” Um… no.

While it’s great that you’ve found something you’re passionate about, that’s only a trillionth of the battle. You need to be willing to work your ass off and be willing to sacrifice everything in order to make that enthusiasm into a success.

Most people that have started their own business will tell you that it took a while into the process to begin paying themselves. Again, if it truly is your passion, this is all worth it in the end. But if you like food and shelter, it might not be.

Say, for example, your passion is acting and your goal in life is to become a famous movie star. Now, you can’t pull a Tobias Funke and simply say, “I’m an actor” and then expect everything to miraculously fall into place.

Like any other passion, you need to invest in yourself. You’ll need to get headshots, take acting classes, and find a flexible day job that allows you to go on auditions. Cutting corners on any of this in order to expedite the process or save a few bucks will end up hurting you in the long run.

For the sake of this article, let’s define “passion” as loving something so much you couldn’t imagine doing anything else… you would even do it for free. And, as there is no correlation between having passion for something and money, you just might.

While doing what you love is admirable, be aware that it may take an incredibly long time to see results in the form of numbers. Because of this, it’s wise to always have a back up plan to support yourself financially and pursue passion with a strong business plan in tact.

It is never wrong to want to follow your passion. I personally think that everyone should give it at least something of a shot during the course of their career so that you never ask “what if?” But following passion because you read a cliche statement can lead to major financial and emotional losses, so put on your business hat before blindly chasing dreams.

Continue Reading

Opinion Editorials

Tech CEO tweet ruins years of a young designer’s hard work

(EDITORIAL) With a tweet here and there, thoughtless questions have potentially bullied a young Asian woman in tech out of her career.

Published

on

naomi wu tweet

It’s hard enough for women, particularly women of color, to make it in the world of tech, without rude jerks questioning if you literally exist.

Sadly, that’s what happened to Naomi Wu, also known as “SexyCyborg,” a 23-year old cyberpunk superstar from Shenzhen, China who has amassed a huge following for her 3D printing experiments and other techie pursuits. Wu has 140,000 followers and millions of views for her YouTube channel, where she shows off her experiments and provides educational tutorials.

Unfortunately, some rude dudes from America can’t seem to imagine that a young Asian woman is capable of the feats that Wu has accomplished.

Dale Dougherty, CEO of the DIY magazine Maker (and an official schmuck), has cyberbullied Wu so badly that it is said to have damaged her career. He tweeted, “I am questioning who she really is. Naomi is a persona, not a real person. She is several or many people.”

This despite the fact that Wu says that she has actually spoken to Dougherty, and that he knows she is real. “For Westerners who don’t understand the important of reputation in China it seems like a very minor thing,” says Wu, “it is everything here and there’s no repairing this.”

Wu has even lost a sponsorship deal from a 3D printer company over the accusations that she isn’t who she says she is.

Dougherty eventually apologized, but Wu says that “the damage had been done” at that point, and that Dougherty knew the accusations would be “devastating” to her “reputation and professional prospects.”

Wu says that the attack is motivated by white male entitlement to tech spaces.

She says that she can’t imagine Dougherty attacking “a white lady from San Francisco.” Wu has been an advocate for diversity in tech and maker spaces. “I kept pushing for more inclusion – not just me, other underrepresented people,” she says. “They didn’t like being pushed. This is payback.”

We stand behind Wu as she continues to push the edge in tech spaces, and say shame on you to bullies who won’t make space for women and racial minorities. Sorry you’re not as cool as SexyCyborg, but that’s on you and you need to get over it.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

The
American Genius
News neatly in your inbox

Join thousands of AG fans and SUBSCRIBE to get business and tech news updates, breaking stories, and MORE!

Emerging Stories