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25 Things the VERY BEST Leaders Do

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    Brian Dodd
All leaders want to be the very best they could possibly be. They want to be effective. Leaders want to be successful and make a lasting impact. I recently completed Lars Anderson’s incredible book The Storm and the Tide. Anderson parallels the 2011 national football champion Alabama Crimson Tide’s on-the-field accomplishments with the role they played in helping to rebuild Tuscaloosa after the devastating April 27 tornado. As I read the book, I pulled out a series of quotes which teach us 25 Practices of the Very Best Leaders: 1. The Very Best Leaders Do Not Take Success for Granted—“Success doesn’t breed success, only hard work does.” —Nick Saban 2. The Very Best Leaders Do the Lonely Work. The Work No One Sees—“We win national championships in the weight room.” —Josh Chapman 3. The Very Best Leaders Have Exceedingly High Expectations—“Because four *%#$ losses (in 1982) is too *%#$ many.” —Bear Bryant on why he was retiring after the 1982 season 4. The Very Best Leaders Do Not Make Excuses—“The Lord expects you to block and tackle.” —Bryant when told, “The Lord just wasn’t with us, Coach.” 5. The Very Best Leaders Have High Character—“We wanted to know if he (a potential recruit) had the drive to succeed and the character to handle all that we were going to demand of him. It’s hard at Alabama. It’s not for everybody. You can’t be an ego guy at Alabama.” —Jim McElwain 6. The Very Best Leaders Have a High Standard of Excellence—“The biggest thing I started to learn at 11 years old was how important it was to do things correctly. There was a standard of excellence, a perfection.” —Saban 7. The Very Best Leaders Understand How to Leverage Failure—“When you let one bad thing that happens to you affect other things, sometimes you create more negative consequences than you like.” —Coach Saban’s father 8. The Very Best Leaders Have a Lot of Support—“Our fans are a powerful recruiting tool. … You come here, man, and nearly everyone in this state will be behind you.” —Saban 9. The Very Best Leaders Are Greatly Admired—“Everybody in Tuscaloosa looks up to Alabama football players and coaches.” —Governor Robert Bentley 10. The Very Best Leaders Are Continual Learners—“I’ve learned twice that everything can be taken away from you at any time. The only way to get through it, I’ve found, is to help others.” —D.J. Fluker 11. The Very Best Leaders Depend on Jesus—“If you reach out to Jesus, He will heal you. … God has a purpose for everyone who was affected by the storm.” —Carson Tinker 12. The Very Best Leaders Serve Others—“You cannot be a leader and affect other people if you’re not willing to serve other people.” —Saban 13. The Very Best Leaders Are Examples for Others—“Who was the greatest leader of all time? Was it Julius Caesar because he almost conquered the world, or Alexander the Great? I would think it was probably Jesus Christ, who had no army and had no power. All He did was serve other people and set an example.” —Saban 14. The Very Best Leaders Surround Themselves With Talented Teammates—“The jockey doesn’t carry the horse, it’s the horse that carries the jockey. He (Saban) knows he needs talent to win.” —Phil Savage 15. The Very Best Leaders Are Great Communicators—“Here’s what we have to offer both academically and athletically. I’ll launch you to an NFL career. Take it or leave it.” —Saban 16. The Very Best Leaders Are Great Recruiters—“Nick only hires coaches who have reputations for being good recruiters.” —Curt Cignetti 17. The Very Best Leaders Limit Surprises—“Coach Saban does not like to be surprised by anything.” —McElwain 18. The Very Best Leaders Are Resilient—“That’s what Coach preaches—check-downs are touchdowns. I’m not going to force it. It’s about living for the next play.” —A.J. McCarron 19. The Very Best Leaders Make Great Decisions—“Every choice, every decision, everything that we do every day, we want to be a champion.” —Saban 20. The Very Best Leaders Look Forward Rather Than Backwards—“We’re not going to talk about what we’re going to accomplish; we’re going to talk about how we’re going to do it.” —Saban 21. The Very Best Leaders Have Great Attention to Detail—“Nick knows every part of the program and every person who touches the program.” —McElwain 22. The Very Best Leaders Work Hard Every Single Day—“Work hard today to be a champion tomorrow. The message never changes. Never.” —McElwain 23. The Very Best Leaders Give Maximum Effort—“If you’re with Nick, you have to give maximum effort, all day, every day.” —McElwain 24. The Very Best Leaders Prepare Better Than Others—“Don’t worry about accepting failure, worry about the process of preparing.” —Saban quoting Dr. Kevin Elko 25. The Very Best Leaders Are Really Not That Complicated—“I’m not really a complicated person. I just work hard.” —Saban