This is a leadership law I am creating and saying openly exists. In all the books I have read on leadership, the author always vehemently admonish that there is this need to always be working yourself out of a job.
Yet, it never has been cemented as a law of leadership. I think it is time we fix that.
If you want your brand to scale to competitiveness then further market dominance, you will only arrive there if you’re able to recruit top talent to your vision.
It took me years to figure this out because of growth, immaturity, and ego, but eventually, it clicked one day.
When I watched a fact shared about Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban, the clicking moment occurred to me. As of writing this, he is 23-0 against his assistants.
This illustrates a key concept to me that I had to evolve my thinking on making the click for me to understand it and teach it to others I consult with on the topic of leadership.
Just because you learn under someone you consider a mentor does not always mean you will acquire your mentor’s secret sauce.
Coach Saban attracts the best of the best to play for him. He recruits them based on their height, weight, flexibility, and character, among other specific positions.
Because Saban has a reputation as a developer of players and a chance to play for a championship every year, he can also recruit the best coaches to coach under him to understand what it takes to play for championships and not just Saturday.
Quite frankly, he has created a culture rooted firmly in perfecting the process, which has boded well for his coaching record and the 6 national championships he has to resume.
But I cannot stop to think just how many more championships he might have won by now had he practiced the law of replacement?
The fact that he has beat and, in some cases, kicked the shit out of his former assistants attests to the bigger picture businesses, and brands need to consider when framing what a bigger vision might just look like.
That is legacy in the form of replacement of the figurehead.
Nick’s legacy is forever written into the annals of college football. You will never see another coach of his caliber in our life, more than likely. He will forever be remembered in Alabama greater than Coach Bryant when he gets his 7th national title, which he might just do this year.
But where does Alabama turn when he retires?
Who wants to fill those shoes of 6 national championships, countless SEC titles, a top recruiting class year after year, and all the expectations Saban has of him to others?
Want to know where they turn?
As I shared earlier, Coach Saban is 23-0 against his assistants.
That means not one person has learned enough under him in the mentor/student role to replicate what Nick has done at Alabama.
Which means if it cannot be replicated elsewhere, what makes you think it can be repeated when he is gone?
It is clear while Alabama might be a giant, for now, focusing on the process to win every Saturday to have a chance to win a championship.
But by focusing their efforts here, they are more than likely staring down some form of regression as most companies do when a successor is named.
How many companies, organizations, or sporting teams are just as successful when their long-term successful figurehead is replaced?
Not many at all. One of the worst leaders chronically displayed in leadership books as a “how not to lead” example because of his emotional volatility as a leader is the only shiny example of success where you can say a brand is more significant than an individual and that brand is Apple.
When Steve Jobs died, you wouldn’t know they have missed a beat. Tim Cook has taken Apple to new heights never before recorded in history in terms of technology and financial milestones as a company.
Money, ambition, power, records, and egos collide in the most spectacular of ways, and this stifles a business just like it does a storied college football program.
No one under Coach Saban is being curated to take over the reins for him. If so, I would believe one of those former coaches would have beaten him by now. It blows me away to know he is undefeated against his former peers. It is to me the greatest tragedy in his legacy, perhaps from a leadership perspective.
Much like in football, you do not get too many years of losses in business before wins are needed to keep a job.
Unity towards a vision must be instilled from the figurehead, leader, mentor, or coach position.
Having a flow of individuals on your team who are adequately prepared to not just carry your vision, but to enhance it, to drive it further than it was before exists on the ready and entirely without any shimmer is the community Jobs appears to have created with Apple.
This is how you steal fire.
This is how you dominate your market.
This is how your brand goes from good to great.
You and those you lead have to understand that you are just a figurehead for a COLLECTIVE and UNANIMOUSLY supported vision. One in which knowledge, processes, systems, experiences, losses, and victories are shared together as a community.
Visions crack not because of one person but because of the ability to always replace the original champions of the picture with new visionaries who breathe life, passion, and ingenuity into the brand, company, or program.
Forget trying to catch fire. Steal it instead.
Replace yourself 100 times over to achieve the compounding effect of 100 overtime.
Leadership is more than your resume; it is about your ability to inspire a culture rooted in replacement that can endure time, which is the greatest equalizer of all.
About Jeff Black
Jeff is a nationally recognized health and fitness coach, public speaker, podcast host for The Excellence Cartel, owner of Iron House Strength & Conditioning, bodybuilder, and Osteogenesis Imperfecta Advocate. He is also a roundtable expert on IntenseMuscle.com.
Today, Jeff works collectively with some of the top coaches in the health and fitness space presenting to other coaches and individuals on health and fitness. He has a passion for leadership and serving others to help them be their own hero. He is recognized for his results, but above all else, the passion he has for the coach’s heart he holds dear.