Nick Saban: What makes this Great Coach, Mentor and Leader Tick?

Nick Saban: What makes this Great Coach, Mentor and Leader Tick?

“It’s not going to get fixed until everybody takes responsibility for it. Like one of those old West Virginia proverbs that I always talk about. A man benefits directly from a mistake, relative to how much it bothers him. I can tell you I didn’t sleep very much, so it bothers the hell out of me.” ~ Nick Saban

If you want to figure out what makes Nick Saban tick, start with the little things. What really separates Saban from the crowd is his organizational modus operandi. Nick Saban calls it, “The Process”. It’s an approach he implemented first in turnarounds at Michigan State and LSU and seems to have perfected “The Process” at Alabama. He has a plan for everything. He has a detailed program for his players to follow, and he’s highly regimented. Above all, Saban keeps his players and coaches focused on execution – yes, another word for process – rather than results.

Thank “The Process”, which involves an almost inhuman work ethic, relentlessness and energy level.

“You see how he works day in and day out, every day,” says strength coach Scott Cochran. “And then you see how exhausted you would be, or you are, at that time and he’s still going hard, he’s still attacking. It doesn’t matter whether he was up all night or had to take a recruiting trip and come back. He doesn’t have a tired side. He doesn’t have a down side. And I’m the strength coach, so you think I can have one? No way!”

“Nick is all about focus –on one thing,” Belichick writes of Saban. “Whether it is the next opponent, the next practice, or the next recruit, he has the ability—at any given time to devote his absolute attention and energy to solving the problem or challenge at hand before moving to the next one.”

What amazes me about Saban is the process he uses for recruiting the top blue chippers in the country. He uses a precise mathematical equation for each recruit, their position such as their height, speed, flexibility and strength. Here’s an example: His offensive lineman have to be a certain height, weight and strength to be even considered. However, what is most important is the drills he puts his recruits through. If the recruit is in a 3-point stance and his heels are not on the ground, he doesn’t recruit them. No matter how good they are, he will not recruit them because of their flexibility.

Saban is a brain surgeon in a college head coaching role. Simply brilliant!

My research of Nick Saban reveals these top qualities that make him an All-Time Great Leader on and off the field:

1) Intelligent ~ Studies and masters at becoming great.

2) Relentless ~ He never gives in or gives up.

3) Intense ~ Losing is no option

4) Demands Accountability ~ Respects only those that take responsibility for their actions.

5) Driven ~ Wants to be the greatest of all-time.

6) Focused ~ Is all about his modus operanti.

7) Disciplined ~ Gets things accomplished at whatever expense.

What really separates Saban from the crowd is his organizational modus operandi. There you have it, follow in the footsteps of this great leader and start building your leadership qualities today!

About the Author

John R. Salkowski is a retired Police Officer after an impressive 15 year career who is now a Highly Sought-After Leadership and Motivational Speaker and Trainer. John can speak for crowds ranging from 20-20,000 sharing his unique leadership strategies in his signature presentation:

“Leadership in the Line of Duty”
Lessons for Making Split-Second Decisions from a Cop Who Has Been in Life and Death Situations

John regularly speaks for a variety of leaders (ranging from entry level to experienced executives) for corporations, business groups, associations, colleges, universities, youth groups and sports organizations. Pulling from his 15 years of real world, in-the-trenches (and even life and death) Law Enforcement situations, John now teaches leaders one of the most important key components of leadership (that is often overlooked):

“How to make split-second leadership decisions when the direction and success of your organization depends on it!”

John has received numerous distinguished awards for Bravery, Merit and Unit Citations. He has also received several employee recognition awards for serving as a leader within his community, including being featured in the Philadelphia Magazine as one of the area’s Top Business Leaders.

Any organization that wants to develop their people into becoming “Extraordinary Leaders” needs to hire John for a keynote and/or workshop training.

To request John to speak at your next event, please email his office at

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