Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Alabama Coach Nick Saban's Ecosystem of Success

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Forbes writer Monte Burke explains it clearly and succinctly - Five Leadership Lessons from Nick Saban.  But what I want to highlight is the ecosystem of success that Saban has helped to engineer.  From Toledo, to Michigan State and Louisiana, and at Alabama the last seven years, he has delivered the results as far as winning football programs are concerned:  165-56-1 (.743).  No doubt, the traits and skills that Burke distills drive these enduring results.  

Under a previous coach, Alabama was on the losing end of the stick, and the University was in disarray.  But for the $7 million Saban makes a year, which more than rivals the salaries of NFL head coaches, his football program brings in $77 to the University.  One doesn't have to have to know much mathematics to realize that that is one outstanding return on investment.  But because of him in particular, the University is better able to recruit talented players and, I'm sure, the best of students among applicants.  He isn't just deft on the football field, but apparently in the homes of top prospects as well.  

The better the student pool, the better the families, boosters and supporters with whom to raise even more money for the University, the better the University can drive its academic and of course football programs.  So, for me, the lessons in leadership take on greater import and complexity.  What CEOs may reflect on with Saban is how to create that ecosystem of success.

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