I love the show 60 Minutes. If you can get past the extreme liberal biases it shows, it offers awesome glimpses into the minds of great people. Last night, they showed an interview with Alabama Crimson Tide football coach Nick Saban (he also happens to be a fellow Kent State alum. Go Golden Flashes!). His interview was a giant lesson every entrepreneur should take note of.
If you don’t follow college football, Sabans Crimson Tide are the cream of the crop. They have won an unheard of three of the last four National Championships and are currently ranked number one again this year. They are incredibly proficient in every phase of the game and are as dominant as it is possible to be in the current era of sports. According to Saban, the reason for their dominance is simple, it’s what they demand and expect out of everyone involved.
Mediocrity Not Welcome
Mediocre people don’t like high achievers and high achievers don’t like mediocre people. – Nick Saban
My favorite moment in the 60 minutes interview comes when, after showing footage of Saban absolutely chewing out players during practice after practice, the following exchange happens:
Interviewer: Why are you so tough on people?
Nick Saban: Well I don’t know if that’s fair that I’m really tough on people. We create a standard for how we want to do things and everyone has to buy into that standard or you really can’t have any team chemistry. Mediocre people don’t like high achievers and high achievers don’t like mediocre people.
In other words, he demands excellence from everyone in the program and those who want to be excellent buy in. Those who want to want to be mediocre complain and quit. From the outside looking in, he appears to be mean, or as the interviewer says, tough on people. From the inside, the people in the program know he is just setting a standard.
The players who play for Nick Saban and the coaches that coach with him know that they will not have an easy ride. Everything they do on and off the field, even the tiniest of details, will be watched to make sure they are done exactly right. In return for their commitment to doing things the right way, they will be granted a chance to play for the top prize in their profession every single year.
Surround Yourself With High Achievers
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. – Jim Rohn
To succeed as entrepreneurs, we have to demand the same excellence of ourselves and the people we hire. If we hire mediocre people and spend our time with mediocre people, our businesses will be mediocre.
Demanding excellence and not settling for mediocrity will cause some people not to like you. They will call you mean and stubborn and other unflattering things. It’s why some of the greatest achievers ever were labeled “assholes” by those around them. Steve Jobs is a perfect example of this. He demanded absolute perfection from every member of his team and those who couldn’t cut it called him an asshole.
If Jim Rohn is right and we are the average of the people we spend the most time with, you have two choices; you can be an asshole and only spend time with high achievers, or you can be a nice guy/girl and allow mediocre people to suck up your time.
I want to play for the National Championships. I’ll stick with the high achievers.