It seems appropriate at the start of a new college football season that I would happen upon a commencement speech by Lou Holtz. Holtz, for my readers who are not college football fans, is a former football coach and ESPN analyst. Most notably, Holtz won a national championship at the University of Notre Dame and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. In addition, he is quite a character, full of energy, passion, and enthusiasm.
In this particular speech, delivered to the 2015 graduating class at Franciscan University, Holtz provided a simple plan of three rules for the graduates to follow. Here are those three rules:
- Do what’s right and avoid what’s wrong. Holtz used the phrase, “There is never a right time to do what is wrong, and never a wrong time to do what is right.” It sounds so simple, but yet we hear about leaders struggling with this everyday when they let greed and the pressure of the bottom line push them to do what is wrong. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it seems and takes a deep commitment from each of us.
- Do everything to the best of your ability. Holtz described this simply by saying, “Everyone can be the best they are capable of being.” He means do your best; give 100% to everything you do; strive for excellence. We all have different talents and abilities. Don’t worry about the talents and abilities of others. Worry about your own and being the best you are capable of being with the talents and abilities you have.
- Show people you care. Holtz told a story to emphasize this point. His wife is a cancer survivor. During her battle with cancer, she said she learned how much her family loves her. So Holtz asked this audience of graduates, “Why does it take cancer for us to show how much we care?” Show people you care today. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Don’t wait for some life-changing moment that prompts you to express your feelings. Try everyday to show people that you care.
These are great rules for college graduates. But they are also great rules for leaders. If we can be leaders who do what’s right, do everything to the best of our abilities, and show people that we care, we will lead strong, cohesive teams. These teams will work hard so our organizations can reach their goals and make their visions reality. Not a bad outcome, from three simple rules!
Thanks for reading,
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