Regardless of your sports loyalties or affiliations, no one can deny what James Franklin has been able to accomplish in his time as head football coach for Vanderbilt University. Before Franklin took over the head coaching job at Vanderbilt, one could make the case that it was the toughest job in America. A small, private, academic university in the ultra competitive, tough Southeastern Conference coupled with a long history of losing dating back to the 1950’s. When asked at a press conference recently about his team’s success, Franklin mentioned four core values that he, his staff, and his players strive to adhere to at all times. I believe the core values he mentioned are applicable to every business owner and their employees. They are as follows:
- Maintain a Positive Attitude – It is virtually impossible to get anything worthwhile accomplished without a can do, positive frame of mind. Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone called it a right mental attitude. “It is most often comprised of the “plus” characteristics symbolized by such words as faith, integrity, hope, optimism, courage, initiative, generosity, tolerance, tact, kindliness, and good common sense. A person with positive mental attitude aims for high goals and constantly strives to achieve them (Hill, Stone, 1960, p.16).”
- Have an Unbelievable Work Ethic – Notice Franklin said unbelievable work ethic, not just a good work ethic. To me unbelievable means intensity. An intense work ethic means removing distractions and being totally immersed in the task at hand.
- Compete in Everything – In reality, most of life is competition. A competitive mindset is a must if full potential is to be achieved. Jack Stack used the principal of athletic competition to turn around a company that was headed for bankruptcy. He talked about this in a remarkable book called The Great Game of Business.
- Must be willing to Sacrifice – Franklin said that to achieve high goals one must be willing to do what the common man will not do. In talking about learning to master the martial art of tang soo do early in his life, Chuck Norris said the daily, grueling training sessions were five hours long from Monday through Saturday. But on his one day off on Sunday, he would study an additional four hours. He was willing to sacrifice and go beyond the normal training to achieve his goals (Norris, 2006, p.34-35).
The above core values are simple to understand but a challenge to live daily. Franklin indicated they are a key to Vanderbilt’s recent success. I believe they will help any organization or individual to achieve a higher level.
*Hill, Napoleon & Stone, W. Clement, (1960), Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude
*Norris, Chuck, (2006), Against All Odds