“The Process”

You might not be a fan of the University of Alabama or college football, but if you are a fan of SUCCESS, I think you will find what I am about to share very helpful. Nick Saban, head football coach at the University of Alabama, has won 5 national championships … one while he was head coach at LSU and four at Alabama. His four championships at the University of Alabama have happened in span of only seven years … the best run in college football history.

In football, you can only put 11 men on the field at one time … it’s your best against their best, so having great talent is critical, but not everything. So, what is the magical formula for success at Alabama and why do so many teams have trouble duplicating it? A few years ago Coach Saban asked me to present a program on communication to his coaching staff. In his world, recruiting star athletes is paramount to their success, and he wanted his coaches to make the best presentations possible to the athletes they wanted to play for Alabama.

I learned a lot of things about Coach Saban and Alabama football preparing for my three hour program. There are a lot of coaches, managers, bosses and leaders out there who never mix it up with the people who are on the front lines. Not Coach Saban; he is all about being on the ground level, getting “dirty” in the details. He understands that old saying, “The devil is in the details,” so he leaves no stone unturned and assumes nothing. I don’t believe I have ever met anyone as detailed as he is. Meetings and practices are planned to the minute and everyone understands what is expected of them and how they are to accomplish it. I don’t have time to go into all that I learned about him in this short article, so I decided to share one of the most important elements of how he has become so successful in what the college football world knows as “The Process;” Coach Saban’s way of winning.  As he says, The Process is much more important than the result.”

The critical element of his success is a simple way of breaking everything down into manageable parts. He owes this technique to Dr. Lionel Rosen, a Michigan State University psychiatry professor he met when he coached there in the late ’90s. Dr. Rosen had studied cognitive therapy used in the Alcoholics Anonymous recovery program and found the best way to succeed is to deal with the “moment” … not the future, nor the past. If you handle the moment correctly, the final result will work out. Dr. Rosen pointed out to Coach Saban that the average play in a football game lasts about seven seconds and that is where he needed to concentrate. What happened on the last play is done, it’s the next play, the next seven seconds that counts. By making sure his players (and coaches) fully understand what they have to do in those seven seconds, without hesitation, and prepare them properly so they can execute it … is all that matters. He teaches those young men that the game is played seven seconds at a time.

The same is true in business. By breaking down what you do into manageable segments of time and function, you will be better able to achieve the results you desire. But remember, everyone needs to understand what is expected of them and how they are to accomplish it. I would like to leave you with one last powerful thought from Coach Saban:

Saban - Two Pains - #3

What Makes You Stand Out ?

When I deal with the sales team of any organization, there is one specific question I like to ask that will tell me how skilled the salesperson is and how good their sales training has been. I ask the question in a private setting, just the two of us. Here is the question:

“I have spoken to your top three competitors and they have told me

why I should do business with them.

I would like to know why I should do business with you.

I want you to give me a two minute commercial on what makes

your company better than your competitors.”

You would be amazed how many times I get AWFUL answers to that question. I think it would be advisable for all companies to spend some time thinking about and answering the following questions:

  • What’s Your Competitive Advantage?
  • What Are Several Ways Your Customer Service Stands Out?
  • Are There Ways You Can Sell Value Instead of Selling Price?
  • What Makes You Special?
  • What Will Make Your Clients Tell Their Friends About You?
  • How Can You Deliver More Than You Promised Your Client?
  • Is There Anything You Do Better Than Your Competition?

You can take those 7 questions and roll them all into one: What differentiates you from your competitors? For example: There is a financial planner who has each client’s car detailed while he is conducting their annual review. There is a realtor who has an enormous lunch delivered to her clients when they move into the house they bought from her on their move-in date. There is a remodeling contractor who has his employees clean up the worksite every day to show the respect they have for the client’s home. He gives out a giant “ShopVac” to each client when he is done with the job, to reinforce that message. Would a plumber who put booties over his shoes before entering your house impress you? It sure impressed me. What could you do that would make you “stand out” from your competition?

Zebra - Stand Out

Spending Other People’s Money

I just completed a program in Las Vegas and I thought I would share with you a few of the reasons why my client was disgusted with the entire convention staff at the hotel. My client and I were talking about the audio/video set-up the night before my engagement, and what changes that needed to be made to help get the maximum benefit out of my program. He told me that working with this hotel had been a very painful experience. He said he had to go over everything in detail, because at every turn they were, in his words, sticking it to him, every chance they got … to increase his bill. In the hotel’s audio/video proposal, he found over $70,000 (that’s not a misprint – it was $70,000) of unnecessary charges that he had taken out, and in his words, again … they fought me every step of the way.”

This was no small hotel off the strip … this is one of the big boys, which has developed an enormous arrogant attitude. Not one time did he feel they were trying to help him, in anyway, save money. They even told him he had to pay for security to protect the audio/video and stage set-up that was going to be used the next day; it was the hotel’s set-up and he had to pay to protect it. He stated he would hire his own security company to “protect” it for half the price they were charging, and they said there would be a management fee charged on top of what he paid the security company. (that was in the small print of the contract) Everywhere he turned they were sucking him dry, trying to get every penny they could out of him.

Then, I heard the words from my client that didn’t surprise me at all … “We aren’t ever coming back here.” He said there are a lot of places he can go where they will happily spend his million dollar plus budget … with hopefully, more “respect for his money.”

A sure way to turn a client against you is to show no concern about the amount of money they are spending with you. I personally feel that when you are dealing with a customer, you should treat the money in their budget just like it is “your own money” and do everything you can to stretch it as far as you can. When the client finds that you are truly looking out for their best interest … you will have a client for life.

Companies who feel there are no consequences for how they spend “other people’s money” are sadly mistaken. Actions have consequences …

squeezing cents

The Future is Yours

I just did a program for a large multinational manufacturing company, who has been in business for over 70 years. My client’s theme for the conference was … The Future is Yours. In preparing for the program, I decided to do some research on great quotes and statements that have to do with our future. I ran across a statement made by the esteemed economist Dr. Lowell Catlett that really surprised me. He said they did a study in 1960 and again in 2010, which involved over 7,000 economists, that rated their accuracy for forecasting future economic trends; their accuracy rate was 47%. He elaborated on that statement, saying: “What I just told you is, you can flip a coin and beat 7,000 economists by 3%.“ He concluded his point by saying, “You can’t predict the future, but you sure can prepare for it.”

So, I thought I would share with you some thoughts/quotes on “Achieving Success in Your Future.” I think these quotes will help to give you a productive perspective on addressing your success in the future.

The future is unknown, but a somewhat predictable unknown. To look to the future we must first look upon the past. That is where the seeds of the future were planted.Albert Einstein

Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to … doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you imagined. – Anon

I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.George Burns

The more you take responsibility for your past and present, the more you are able to create the future you seek. – Anon

Your future is created by what you do today … Not tomorrow. – Anon

The best way to predict the future is to create it. – Abraham Lincoln

If I had to pick my favorite quote of all of them, it would be the second one: “Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you imagined.” I don’t care where you are in life, how low you have gotten, or how bad it has been … tomorrow you can start fresh, creating a better future. All great achievement begins with deciding what you want and then dedicating yourself to achieving it. So, my perspective on having future success is learning from our past.


If you don’t apply the lessons you have learned from your past … you will never improve your future. There is no rule that says your past is your destiny. You possess the power to create a great future: we all do. Remember, your future success is dependent on your present efforts … so, do something today that you will be happy you did tomorrow.

Let your regrets fuel your future …

so your future will have fewer regrets.





It is a new year with new opportunities and new challenges. According to Forbes magazine, over 40% of Americans prepare a New Year’s Resolutions list. Self-improvement (48%) is the top category for resolutions; weight (38%), money (34%), and relationships (31%) round out the top four “Resolution Types.”

Age seems to play a huge role in the success rate of achieving your New Year’s Resolution. 39% of the people in their twenties achieve their resolution, while only 14% of people over fifty do so. 25% of the people who take the time to write-up their New Year’s Resolution, only last one week, before going back to their old ways. That number jumps to 34% by the end of one month. The Statistic Brain Research Institute found that only 8% are successful in achieving their resolutions; now that is a depressing number.

Is there a better way to approach having a more successful year? I think so; it doesn’t take much to improve on a 92% failure rate. Instead of approaching the New Year with just a Resolution list, maybe you should “also” give some consideration to approaching the New Year with a new system for addressing each day. In preparing for one of my programs, I was researching my client and found something, I feel, would be tremendously useful to anyone; it came from their Value Statement. They created an acrostic for the word POWER.

Power - 4

If you incorporate these five values into the way you approach any task, problem, challenge or goal … you will greatly enhance your chances for succeeding. You have just begun writing the 365 page book that will chronicle YOUR new year. You are the author, editor and publisher … the one fully responsible for how your book turns out. Artist and writer, Christine Mason Miller once stated, “At any given moment you have the POWER to say, ‘this is not how the story is going to end.’” Your past doesn’t have to decide your future. You have the choice and the opportunity to start anew and there is no better time to do that, than right now.

So, instead of fretting over not accomplishing one of your New Year’s Resolutions, pay more attention to how you address, approach, and attack each day. When you have Pride in your work, always delivering an Outstanding effort, keeping a Winning attitude no matter what the circumstances, never losing sight of what is Ethical, while always Respecting others … your reputation will soar. Always remember:

It takes P.O.W.E.R. to be successful.

Forget Something?

A while back I did a huge favor for someone and never heard anything from them … zip, zilch, nada, nothing. Just a simple “Thank You” would have been nice … but they acted as if it was expected of me. To say that I was disappointed is putting it mildly.

To me, disappointed is a very powerful and scary word. You see, disappointed can turn into other “Dis” words, such as disgruntled, discouraged, disenthralled, disillusioned, disheartened, and possibly even dissatisfied with our current personal or business relationship. I might start noticing that this relationship (business or personal) is really all about YOU and how YOU can benefit; the words reciprocation or gratitude don’t seem to be in your vocabulary.

Everyone likes to be remembered, thanked or appreciated for doing favors, going above and beyond, being courteous, considerate, thoughtful or kind. Being “taken for granted” stinks. Forgetting to show any kind of appreciation for someone who did something for you … that they didn’t have to do … can end up causing you problems later on. You will never know when someday you may need a helping hand and all those people you took for granted and/or never thanked, might NOT be so readily available to help you out.

Francesca Gino, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, did some research on gratitude and looked at 41 fundraisers at a university, all receiving a fixed salary. The director visited half of the fundraisers in person, telling them, “I am very grateful for your hard work. We sincerely appreciate your contributions to the university.” The second group received no such expressions of gratitude. What was the impact of the director’s thanks? Gino said that “the expression of gratitude increased the number of calls by more than 50 percent” for the week, while fundraisers who received no thanks made about the same number of calls as the previous week.

Organizations and leaders who miss chances to express gratitude, lose opportunities to motivate people that actually costs them nothing. Simply stated: Gratitude is free and profitable. People may not show that they are upset about not being thanked … but when the time comes for them to help YOU out again, they may just be a little too busy that day. You can transform your relationships, business and personal life with the Power of Gratitude! Never underestimate the power of a thank you and never pass up on the opportunity to say those two words.

It is not happy people who are thankful.

It is thankful people who are happy.




Let’s get one thing straight … we all begin as a NOVICE. No one, let me repeat that, NO ONE starts as an expert. We all have to learn to walk, talk, eat, swim, count, write, and read. We all start at zero, the bottom, from scratch, zip … with absolutely no knowledge, experience, or understanding of the “THING” we are about to learn. I actually like that fact; for once, everyone starts at exactly the same place. No one has a head-start when it comes to learning.

So, then the journey begins; your progression from being a Novice, then Average, then Skilled, then a Specialist, and finally an Expert is all up to you. I really like the title of “EXPERT” because it has to be earned. You can assign someone a title of Vice President or Sales Manager, Boss or Director … but EXPERT, that title is something to be revered, respected, and admired.

EXPERTS have put in the time, effort, and study to EARN the title. They have dealt with the pains, frustrations, exhaustion, stress that come with obtaining the title of EXPERT. In fact, it’s really not a title at all, it’s a designation or confirmation that the person you are dealing with is very, very good at what they do. I like being around experts, because they have traits in their character that can do nothing but help me. You see to be an EXPERT you have to have passion, conviction, focus, discipline, dedication, drive, purpose, commitment, spirit, determination … and the undeniable WILL to perfect your SKILL.

According to the American Society for Training & Development, American workers average 6.5 minutes per day developing their skill. That statistic alone explains why there are so many average performing people. Most people just aren’t WILLING to put in the time and effort needed to raise their skill level.

Your success has a great deal to do with your level of SKILL, but not everything. I know a lot of talented, smart, well-educated people who have, in no way, come close to reaching their full potential. I was speaking to a Vice President of Sales yesterday, who was expressing her frustration at several of the sales people working for her who have the skill but not the will. She told me they have all the talent, but yet they still don’t excel. She went on to say they have the training, knowledge, understanding and a huge opportunity, with thousands of potential clients available for them to call on, but they accept being average.

You have the FREEWILL to succeed, if you have the WILLINGLESS to do it. The big question is WILL you? Who would have ever thought such a simple word as WILL would have so much to do with your success. Here are a few quotes I want to share with you that should hopefully broaden your prospective on how important WILLPOWER is to your success. They are by people you may have never heard of … ( de Balzac, Min, and Crowley respectively) … but the brilliance of their words is indisputable.

  • “There is no such thing as great talent without great willpower.”
  • “Lack of willpower leads to more failure than lack of intelligence or ability.”
  • “In the absence of willpower the most complete collection of virtues and talent is wholly worthless.”

Anyone can go from Novice to Expert if they have the WILL to do it. But, the “Skill Knob” below can only be turned to the “Expert Notch” if you have the WILL to make it happen and the discipline to study, learn and practice to perfect your SKILL.

Skill Knob

Willpower is a muscle.

The more you use it, the stronger it gets.



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