On Thursday, July 7th national champion Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik came to my hometown of Kennesaw, GA to sign copies of his new book All In at Lifeway Christian Store. I was unable to attend personally because of job responsibilities. However, I asked my wonderful wife Sonya if she would purchase the book and get Coach Chizik to autograph it. I think because Lifeway is located at the mall, she agreed to go.
What happened next has many applications for anyone in leadership. The following are the key learnings from the experience:
- Great Leaders Can Draw Great Crowds – Sonya arrived 30 minutes prior to the 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm signing. By that time, a very large mall parking lot was already full.
- People Proudly Display The Colors For Things They Have Passion For – Most of the cars were sporting Auburn flags, car tags, and other parafernalia. Would a complete stranger know what you are passionate about just by looking at your life?
- People Line Up To Meet Great Leaders – Tickets were distributed so that an orderly line could be formed to meet Coach Chizik. Though she was 30 minutes early, my wife’s number was 194! It was going to be a long wait.
- People Are Polite And Patient For Something Worth Waiting For – We stand in a lot of lines and sit in a lot of traffic in north Atlanta. My wife made note of how nice everyone was as they waited for Coach Chizik.
- Sometimes You Don’t Know A Great Leader When You See One – My wife doesn’t know Gene Chizik from Gene Hackman. As the signing was about to begin, a policeman walked by. Sonya was thinking that he is there fo crowd control. Then a man in an extremely nice suit walked within feet of her. As Coach Chizik began to acknowledge the cheers of the crowd, Sonya discovered who he was.
- Successful College Coaches Are Treated Like gods – As Coach Chizik walked by the crowd to get to the signing table, people began cheering and doing the “War Eagle” chant.
- Everyone Loves A Winner – The reception Coach Chizik received at Lifeway is certainly different from the one received when he was named Auburn’s head coach. For those of you who don’t know, he was booed at the airport when got off the plane after being named head coach. What a difference a national championship makes!
- No Matter What You Do, You Can’t Please Everyone – My daughter was also standing in line at the store. She was completely unimpressed and couldn’t wait to go to the make-up store afterwards.
- Great Leaders Have Great People Skills – My wife noted how nice Chizik was to everyone in the line. He made eye contact and didn’t sign the books very quickly. He made the experience as special as he possibly could for the thousands in attendance.
- People Will Go Anywhere When It’s Worth It – As I mentioned, Lifeway is a Christian book store. We don’t know people’s hearts but it appeared many in the crowd were unchurched. It didn’t matter because Gene Chizik was in that store. Church leaders, make what is happening in your church worth coming in for and people will respond in much the same manner.
- Family Is What Matters Most – I’m so grateful for a wife and daughter who would stand in line with the passionate Auburn faithful to get me a signed copy of Coach Chizik’s book. They are the best!
Pastors and business leaders, what can you apply from experience?
For more posts on Auburn football, enjoy these previous posts:
- 17 Pre-Game Leadership Quotes From Gene Chizik, Chip Kelly, Urban Meyer, and Nick Saban
- 10 Leadership Quotes From Auburn QB Cam Newton
- 28 Heisman Quotes From Cam Newton & Andrew Luck On Leadership
- 10 Things That Make Cam Newton A Special Leader
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