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Lessons in Leadership from Nick Saban

November 01, 2012 by Bruce Jones, Programming Director, Disney Institute

Nick Saban, University of Alabama head football coach and leader of one of this season’s most successful football programs, recently shared some of his leadership lessons with Brian O’Keefe, assistant managing editor of Fortune Magazine.

How does he do it? “It’s all a part of the process,” Saban says.

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Well, it has taken Nick Saban nearly four decades to develop what he calls “the Process.” How can you apply “the Process” to your business? Consider these tips from Saban himself:

1. Create a vision:  “What kind of program do I want to have?” Saban is known for his no-nonsense attitude on and off the field. He expects his players to perform not only in practices and during the games, but also in the classroom—Seventy-five percent of Saban’s players graduate.

2. Plan: “You’ve got to have a plan to implement (the vision).” One way Saban insures his plan works: before each game the coaches have what they call a “what-if” meeting, so that the team is always prepared.

3. Example: “Set the example that you want.” Every day during his lunch hour, Saban sits down at the same table in his office and eats the exact same meal. O’Keefe says “He runs his schedule, and his entire program, with similar efficiency.”

4. What is important: “Develop the principles and values that are important.” “(Saban) Defines expectations for his players athletically, academically and personally. And – this is critical—always follows through,” says O’Keefe.

5. Convince: “Get people to buy into it.” Saban knows how to draw a crowd. Demand for seats at Alabama football games has reached an all-time high, calling for Bryant Denny Stadium to be expanded. Today it holds 101,821 fans.

Every industry is different, and athletics is no exception. Fortunately, good leadership has strong themes that can be used in any field. How can you adapt some of Nick Saban’s leadership tips for your organization?

Are you interested in hearing more about leadership from Disney Institute? Join @DisneyInstitute on Twitter Wednesday, November 7 for a chat with our Leadership Excellence expert, Ben Reed. Leave your questions for the chat in the comments below!

For the full story, visit http://cnnmon.ie/PoN7wj


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