While sitting on a plane recently, waiting our turn to take off from the crowded runway, I picked up a copy of Southwest Magazine and began flipping through the pages. I didn’t get far into the magazine before I stopped to read the editorial from Southwest Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly.
Kelly talked about the importance of building a winning team and how he always looks forward to bringing his leadership team together each fall for a day of learning, inspiration and fellowship.
Last year, Southwest brought in a legendary football coach to provide motivation to the team: Lou Holtz. Holtz was so inspiring, Southwest is bringing him back again this year.
As a lifelong Notre Dame fan, this is what caught my attention and I read on.
According to Kelly, Holtz provided three simple rules that he sets for his teams and they embody the direction Southwest has for its team as well: 1) Do what’s right; 2) Do everything to the best of your ability; and 3) Show your team you care.
It seems so simple. Common sense, really. But often it’s the simple things that get overlooked when you’re bogged down with running a business. It’s good to get a reminder every once in a while to take a step back and focus on what’s important.
Many years ago, I picked up Holtz’s autobiography, “Wins, Losses and Lessons,” and couldn’t put it down. It remains one of the most fascinating biographies I’ve ever read.
Since his astounding success on the sidelines and as an analyst, Holtz has continued to coach and inspire through his motivational speeches. After I landed, I began to research some of Holtz’s other words of wisdom and came across his five keys to success that are so relevant to life and business.
Choose Your Attitude
“You cannot let other people determine your attitude,” Holtz says. “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it.”
As a business owner, you no doubt face problems on a daily basis. Life isn’t easy; but it’s up to you how you respond to adversity. The choice is yours. How you respond to rejection and how you approach life is determined by you — no one else. Successful people are self-disciplined and enthusiastic about everything they do.
Have a Passion to Win
“You can evaluate your passion to win by what you are willing to sacrifice,” Holtz says. “Focus on why you can win; no on why you can’t.”
If you’re not in it to win it, you’re not going to win at all. You have to develop a passion to win and be successful and, if you do, then no obstacle will get in your way.
You must decide where you want your company to go, and what sacrifices you’re willing to make to get there.
Understand Your Purpose
“If you’re bored with life — you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things — you don’t have enough goals,” Holtz says. “I can’t believe that God put us on this earth to be ordinary.”
Your purpose is your WHY — the reason why you do what you do and why you’re pursuing the goals you’ve set. You need to have clear objectives, and have a team ready to help you move toward your goals.
Be a Dreamer
“Don’t maintain where you are — everything is either growing or dying,” Holtz says. “Don’t be a spectator. Don’t let life pass you by.”
Your purpose should be connected to your dream. Use your dream to identify your goals and share it with your team. In this month’s 20 Questions interview, Jeff Nusz says it was important after 2008 to create a new vision for the company and gain the trust back from his employees by communicating that plan.
Lift People Up
“Do right. Do your best. Treat others as you want to be treated,” Holtz says. “If you burn your neighbor’s house down, it doesn’t make your house look any better.”
This isn’t just good advice, it’s the Golden Rule. I’ve spoke with many successful contractors over the years who subscribe to this way of thinking. In the end, they all have the same view when it comes to training and education: Make the industry better.
What benefits the industry will also benefit your company. Be a positive influence on your team, your customers, your community and this industry. Success will undoubtedly follow.