HR Strategy

Reaching Champion Status: 3 Leadership Lessons from Coach Urban Meyer

By

Lauren Owens

| Sep 11, 2015

At the collegiate level, there are a lot of really good players, but every once in a while, a coach snags a great one. In the case of Urban Meyer, the Ohio State head football coach, he found himself in a unique situation with two strong, experienced leaders going head-to-head for the top quarterback spot.

Many wonder how he got so lucky, but I wouldn’t call it luck; it’s strategy at its finest. Here are three leadership lessons from Urban Meyer:

  1. Getting the best talent starts with recruiting.

Recruiting is the lifeblood of any college program and the same is true in corporate America. Bringing in elite talent is what has kept the Buckeyes a contender, year-in and year-out.

In Meyer’s first four years as head coach, Ohio State recruited top-five classes. Aside from having the passion to recruit, Meyer knows that his team members are his greatest ambassadors.

Just like Meyer’s vision to recruit star athletes, the same is true of your organization. Companies use a variety of sources to find top talent for their coveted positions, but it truly is all about whom you know. Current employees might already hold the key to the ideal candidate. By tapping into your teams’ networks, companies and football programs alike can increase referral rates, thereby increasing the number of quality recruits and hires.

Another problem many companies and football programs face is keeping your top talent – another challenge Meyer knows all too well.

  1. Cultivating the best equates to keeping the best.

Game-planning and play-calling aren’t the only things discussed in the Buckeyes’ locker room. In fact, an encounter with a 61-year-old track star and pastor, Tim Kight, morphed Meyer’s philosophy into an approach Buckeyes team members use long after football.

That approach involves switching out the Xs and Os for Es and Rs. The E represents “the event” and the R is for “response.” For every situation, there is a proper or improper response which results in a positive or negative outcome. Responding appropriately is the Buckeyes’ mission.

The goal is to have a strong R for every situation, both in the game of football and in life. According to Kight, if you are confident your R is stronger than any E, you’ll always win.

However, it’s not just the players who receive training. Every week during spring ball, Meyer allots time for his staff members to take leadership workshops with Kight. The coaches are on board with Kight’s teachings and they hold players accountable to the same beliefs.

Kight’s equation has proven effective for the Buckeyes, but it can easily be used in business organizations. Just follow these steps:

  • Start by engaging executive leaders to get them on board first.
  • Then, through workshops and training sessions, leaders can help to develop employees on the practice of responding appropriately.
  • Encourage employees to take the course or incorporate it into their career paths.
  • Keep the material readily available through a learning management tool for employees to reference when necessary.

Developing skills in both football and leadership helped carry the Buckeyes to victory last year and now they aim to accomplish a feat not many have done: Repeat the win.

  1. Once a foundation of great talent is established, replenishing it only gets easier.

Finding and developing great talent is the foundation needed to achieve national title status or success in the business place.

Once you’ve established a strong foundation of leaders, capitalize on that through training and development. Not only will you have a model to base hiring decisions from, but you also will have a slew of ambassadors willing to recruit on your behalf.

How will your organization reach champion status?

About the Author

Lauren Owens

Lauren is an enthusiastic writer who is passionate about numerous topics surrounding the HCM industry including talent management and acquisition, technology, document management and leadership. Lauren is a former Paycom blogger, social strategist and community relations coordinator.

See more posts by Lauren Owens