August 20, 2012

Can You Stomach Change?

August 2012


People in leadership overuse sports vernacular when dealing with business questions. Things like “no pain no gain”, “step up your game”, “hit a home run”, and the rest you have heard. What is interesting to me is when sports people use sound business principals in their programs.

For a few years back in the mid-nineties (yes I am that old) my path crossed with probably the most intense individual I have ever known. Nick Saban was the head football coach at Michigan State University at the time we worked together and has gone on to build a number of very successful college football teams. In fact he has won three of the last nine College Football Championships. I read recently about his approach to installing his “process” everywhere he goes. He sets goals and provides job descriptions for everyone associated with his football program. He brings in the right people, equips them properly, tracks and monitors their growth, and holds them accountable.

That is the proper way to achieve success on the football field and in business.

“You have to pay the price up front,” Saban said (in Sports Illustrated, August 20, 2012). “Everybody wants to do it. Not everybody is willing to do what they have to do to do it.”


Organizations talk a good “change” game and some even bring in a team to help them implement change. Rare is the company that can actually stomach the beginning, middle and end of the process of changing the culture of a business. As Saban says, it’s hard work. Things never stay the same – you simply must adapt and change to succeed. Are you willing to do what is needed to bring the change?

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