10 Things New Leaders Should Know: Leadership Lessons From Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly

Lou Holtz once told a recruit “Son, you can either join me and be a part of Notre Dame’s return to glory or you can watch it on national television.”  Those days may soon be returning.

Recently www.bleacherreport.com  posted 10 Things Head Coach Brian Kelly Learned In His First Season At Notre Dame.  These principles are applicable to any leader who takes on a new position and assignment.

  1. There’s No Reason Notre Dame Can’t Win A National Championship – Play to your strengths.  Notre Dame possesses great facilities, tradition, alumni, resources, national exposure, and the nation’s finest business school. 
  2. Never Let Teaching Lessons Get In The Way Of WinningCharlie Sheen would be proud of this principle.  Kelly was going for a decisive touchdown against Tulsa rather than a safe field goal.  Each would have provided the necessary margin for victory.  Kelly was attempting to teach his team about aggressiveness.  The result was an interception resulting in a needless loss.  In the spirit of Charlie Sheen, leaders are about winning! 
  3.  Beating Southern Cal Doesn’t Cure All…But It Cures A Lot – In every organization, there are simply some achievements that are defining and point the organization in a positive direction.  Beating USC did that for Notre Dame.  What would be the defining win for you?
  4. A Balanced Offense Is Key – Being good in a number of areas (balanced) gives organizations options.
  5. Michael Floyd Is More Than a One-Trick Pony – The uber-talented receiver previously lived solely off his God-given talents.  Under Kelly’s tutelage however, Floyd’s effort and weight room activity were vastly improved.  He has since been voted a 2011 team captain.
  6. How To Stop The Option – Great leaders make adjustments.  After giving up 367 rushing yards to Navy, the Irish limited Army to 135 yards just four weeks later, 117 yards below their season average.   
  7. A Good Defense Makes Life Easier – Great organizations always have areas that are showing dramatic improvement.
  8. His Quarterback’s Blind Side Is Safe Through 2013 – Great leaders protect their most valuable assets.  Freshman Zack Martin emerged as a good player at left tackle.  Kelly’s quarterbacks will now be safely protected for the next three years.
  9. Relentless Effort on the Recruiting Trail Nets Results – Great leaders finish strong.  Because of Kelly and his staff’s hard work throughout the entire recruiting cycle, athletes stayed attached to Notre Dame and officially signed after committing early. 
  10. The Spotlight Burns Brightest Under The Golden Dome – Don’t be naive.  The more notoriety and responsibility a leader has, the more pressure and fewer options they will have.

You never have to recover from a good start.  If are taking on a new leadership role, focus on these 10 lessons and give yourself an opportunity to have initial success.

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

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