There was a lot to like about the come from behind victory of Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide over Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs in Monday Night’s NCAA national football championship game, unless of course, you’re a Bulldog fan still smarting from the loss. Here are some leadership takeaways.
First, there was Alabama winning the title after losing it in the fourth quarter last year to Clemson, 35-31. Does your organization have the poise and resilience to rebound quickly from a bitter disappointment?
Then there was the rivalry between the Ridley brothers, Calvin and Riley. Calvin’s team, the Crimson Tide, was victorious and yet he swapped jerseys after the game with his younger brother to demonstrate their love and respect for each other, something for which their single mom must be very proud. Competition is healthy and necessary in business, but does your organization let it get in the way of showing compassion for the competition?
Next was how Nick Saban out-coached his former understudy. During halftime, Coach Saban simply told his team, down 13-0, that they needed to focus on fundamentals and execute them well. If they did that, he said, they would have ample opportunities to get back in the game. In addition to that, he made the bold decision to change the dynamics of the game. For the second half, he took his seasoned and highly successful quarterback, Jalen Hurts (25-2 as a starter), out of the game and went with southpaw rookie, Tua Tagovailoa. Saban’s savvy call got the team out of its funk and back into contention.
Tagovailoa, who wears #13 and gladly gave the credit for the win to God after the game, threw the winning 41-yard touchdown pass in overtime. You can watch it here courtesy of the NCAA (Post with video). Equally impressive was Hurts who showed a lot of class by being ever-present at the side of his replacement. Not only was he one of Tagovailoa’s biggest cheerleaders, he was one of the first to congratulate him after the winning touchdown.
Tagovailoa was not the only rookie on the field. The Alabama victory overshadowed the admirable play of Georgia’s rookie quarterback Jake Fromm. He threw for 232 yards which surpassed the combined total for Hurts and Tagovailoa.
How well do you focus on the fundamentals of your business especially when things aren’t going well? Does the culture of your organization allow for a major shake up in the roster without people taking it personally? Would you be willing to turn over an important project or initiative to the equivalent of rookie in your organization?
Nick Saban said at the end of the game that he never felt happier than after this win. My guess is he would have been proud of his team even if they hadn’t won.
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