I was sent the following article written by Eddie Jackson and I was inspired to write a post on a few key points. Eddie Jackson was the starting safety and punt returner for the Crimson Tide this year. During a return, he broke his leg and has been out for the season. I was very surprised to read this amazing article that really spoke to the culture of Alabama football and Nick Saban.
- The first point I want to talk about is how Eddie makes the comment that at Alabama you are either teaching or learning – always. The veterans use practice to teach the younger players and help them get better. Yes, the coaches also coach but having the individual team members helping elevate the younger team members is one of the keys to their success. Think about your day at work, is everyone either teaching or learning? Are you as a leader spending your time both teaching and learning? Any idle time or missed opportunity to either teach someone how to do something better or to learn something new yourself is wasted time that you cannot get back. As I have talked about before, you can either spend your time or invest your time. Never waste a chance to help someone improve. If you see it, say it.
- The second point he makes ties into this in the fact that the reason the Alabama program remains great is because the players live up to the standards of the players that have come before them. Think about your current team and the positions at your company. Do we have the right people leading the correct way in those positions so the newer team members live up to the standards we want to see? As new team members observe our existing team members, they learn what is both expected as well as accepted. Ask yourself what is expected as well as accepted from all of your key positions. As you pair up new team members with mentors make sure that it is someone whose actions you want replicated.
- The third point also ties into the first two. He mentions that everyone on the team demands the best out of each other. Imagine a team culture where each team member helps hold everyone else accountable. As I have touched on in many posts, accountability is one of the keys to our success. He mentions that the accountability is so high that people who don’t fit in don’t last in the organization. It doesn’t matter how many stars they have or what position they play, they are all held to the same high standard. Who sets the bar at your company? Do others help keep the bar up high or do they try to lower it along the way? How do you stay on top as long as Alabama? Everyone around you keeps raising the bar!
- I know that Nick Saban is always credited for the process but it sure is inspiring to see how the process is living, breathing and morphing into the teams’ DNA along the way. Remember to keep the standards high and to always be either teaching or learning every day!