Recently, I had the opportunity to attend Coach’s Night, featuring Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M University’s Head Football Coach. My husband and I both graduated from Texas A&M and we are season ticket holders. We are also emotionally invested in Texas A&M football team. We have fond memories of our time there as students and as parents of a recent Class of 2019 Graduate (who was also a member of the Fightn’ Texas Aggie Band, Whoop!). So, I knew this night would be a night filled with fellowship and fun. What I didn’t expect was being so inspired by our Coach as a leader.
I know, sports analogies are the oldest examples of leadership. Since I didn’t play sports, they never really resonated with me on a personal level. This night, when there was no intended teaching moment about leadership, it jumped out at me. Our coach, Jimbo Fisher, gushed with enthusiasm over each and every player in extraordinary detail, not just about who they were on the field, but also about their family and where they are from. He spoke with pride, enthusiasm, confidence and optimism. The theme of his speech and direction and goals were simple to understand and consistent: to win.
In addition to a clear vision and passion for his players, Coach Fisher repeated his mantra: grit, toughness, effort, discipline, pride. These words are now included in the 2019 redesigned Kyle Field tunnel. According to Texas A&M University Assistant Athletic Director, 12th Man Productions, Andy Richardson: “When the team takes the field for the pregame and the team takes the field for the second half, they walk through the literal sign of what Jimbo preaches to them every day in practice so that there is one last reinforcement to them. It is also a really cool element for fans to see as they are watching the game experience.”
Of course, I did not know this was redone until after I heard Coach Fisher’s talk. It was both refreshing and inspiring to listen to a leader be so committed, easy to follow and focused. With season tickets the last 4 out of 5 years (skipped Covid 2020), I was already on the bandwagon. This time, I felt pride in Aggie leadership and recognized that it aligns with the core values of the university: Excellence, Leadership, Loyalty, Respect, Selfless Service.
Overall, it was Inspiring and made me consider and remind myself of these important leadership practices.
- Make sure my vision is clear
- Know and care for my team
- Have a clear and consistent message about expectations and approach
- Ensure leaders align to the values of the organization
Leadership from sports to the office to home. Include enthusiasm and passion for your vision and team with daily reminders on how to get there. Sounds simple and so evident when witnessed. Getting people on our bandwagon is the intent when we are leaders.
Great leadership Coach Fisher! Thanks for the example and ‘Gig’em.
Diane Johnson Morris, PMP, CSM
Diane Johnson Morris is an Industrial Engineer, certified PMP, and CSM. She has over 30 years of experience in the Defense, Retail, Restaurants, and Healthcare. She has supported Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Strategy and Information Technology functions in various roles including Engineer, Process Leader, Strategy/Portfolio Manager, Program/Project Manager, and PMO Director.