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The #1 Thing Nick Saban Learned From Bill Belichick

Nick Saban

I am a subscriber to the daily sports newsletter The Athletic.  It is one of the best annual investments I make from a leadership perspective.

On June 24th, writer Joe Smith posted Championship culture: Real or overhyped?  Coaching titans Kerr, Maddon, Arians, and Saban weigh in.  It is one of the most insightful articles I have red in 2021.

One of my favorite parts was Alabama head coach Nick Saban discussing how players must reinforce the values of the organization. He said, “I tell guys they have to reinforce the values of the organization to be a leader, have to set a good example and have to help somebody win. You have to care enough about other people to help them for their benefit, not yours. If they’re not willing to do that, this is not a role for them. You can’t be on the leadership group and walk into meetings late or miss class. That won’t work.”

There are perks to leadership and there is also a price and responsibility to leadership. Coach Saban pointed this out well with his comments. The article also included an audio clip with Coach discussing his time with Bill Belichick.

The following is The #1 Thing Nick Saban Learned From Bill Belichick along with 7 Additional Lessons On Creating Winning Cultures I captured from the clip:

  1. “I think the biggest thing I learned from Bill was he defined the role that everybody had in the organization and the expectation he had for everyone.”
  2. “He defined the kind of players he wanted to bring to the team, the kind of critical factors we wanted them to have.”
  3. “You was very specific about, you know, how and what we were going to do in the organization.”
  4. “Even though we worked extremely hard, you knew exactly what the expectation was.”
  5. “Define the culture.”
  6. “Define the expectation.”
  7. “Your team reflects that because you defined exactly what you want.”
  8. “If you want big linebackers and you don’t define that, you got a bunch a little guys and they’re not going to be able to do what you want to do… You’re not getting what you want because you didn’t define it to start with.”

Coaches Belichick and Saban teach us that selecting talent for your organization is about elimination. Your culture creates the decision grid and defines the individuals you wish to add to your organization. No matter how talented someone may be, if they do not fit your culture, they should not be an option for your team.

For more leadership from Coach Nick Saban, click the following:

This article originally appeared here.

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Brian Dodd is a church stewardship & leadership consultant. See www.briandoddonleadership.com for additional insights.