Sunday, August 28, 2016

NICK SABAN INTERVIEW- Life lessons on Leadership and Work - Life balance -an interview of Nick Saban by Tim Teebow and Marty Smith (UNFORTUNATELY NOT by ME)

NICK SABAN INTERVIEW- Life lessons on Leadership and Work - Life balance -an interview of Nick Saban by Tim Teebow and Marty Smith (UNFORTUNATELY NOT by ME)

      A while back I WAS fortunate to interview Coach Brad McCoy. We had a long conversation about leadership mentoring in coaching. We discussed his life lessons he gives to young players which I could pass onto our young surgical trainees. (

     I wish I was able to interview Coach Saban but Tim Teebow and Marty Smith (ESPN) were lucky enough to do so on an ESPN broadcast today “on the lake with Saban”. They asked Coach Saban the same questions I would have. We are constantly struggling in surgery to identify key leadership aspects to mold our uprising surgical leaders and once again another great football coach has stated it so well, I felt the need to pass this along. (Go to

    MS- coach what are your favorite memories here?

    NS- the kids growing up. One thing about it is when you move around a memories are really important to your children. .... I tell everybody, we are always so worried about getting ahead, the games your gonna win and all that.. but when you get to my age at this station and you look back and say I wish I spent a little bit more time doing that. can't relive it. ....As you get older some times you realize that some things are more important than when you are coming up and you are trying to make it and you didn't value the memories as much as you do now... And for everybody out there you gotta enjoy the moment.


    MS-how far away from football will you let yourself go (at the lake house)

    NS- I don't feel like I get away from football when I am out here.... I don't really get away from it completely, like it doesn't exist, I know that maybe for a couple of hours maybe I can go back to it, but the rest of the time my mind is completely clear of it. The level of relaxation is so important to me and if I didn't do that I could not have coached as long as I had.


    TT- when in your career did you learn to compartmentalize and put football in its place and family and the rest of your life in its place.

     NS- The last couple of years when I was at Michigan state I had a philosophical change in my approach. Up to that point it was all about I had to win, like I had to prove myself all the time... And sometimes I feel like I affected the team and made them feel that way. Where when I went to LSU I adopted the philosophy that hey we are going to play one play at a time ... It was more fun for me, it was more fun for the players..and we got a lot better results.

{This reminded me of a conversation I had after the Duke Faegin leadership conference in May 2016, With Dr Sottile where he explained to me that work life balance is not possible and you must find that happy medium where you can accomplish what you need to regarding your work and then let it go because you cannot be engaged simultaneously with your family and work or both will suffer.

      MS- what is the greatest threat to excellence?

       NS-complacency, being satisfied with where you are. Complacency creates a complete disregard for doing what's right. You can't just do what you feel like doin you gotta chose to do what helps you accomplish the goals that you have and when you get complacent you lose respect for winning. ..... I don't spend much time on the past, I really spend all my time thinking about the next challenge.


     MS - how important is it to you to be a compass for these young a man, much less as a football player?

    NS- my number one goal for our that they can be more successful in life because they were involved in the program. And when they commit I tell them I don't want them to commit to Alabama, I want them to commit to all the things we do to be successful.


     MS- what do you expect when you get back

      NS leadership comes from the power of one, you affect one person by the example you set, being somebody they can emulate, caring about somebody, and tomorrow you affect two more guys...and then next thing you know everybody is affecting everybody in a positive way.


     TT. How much harder is it to get to the top of the mountain verses staying at the top of the mountain?

      NS it's a whole different set of challenges. In terms of getting people to buy in to doing the things they need to do to accomplish the goals that they have and not be satisfied with the goal they just accomplished. You gotta recalibrate every bodies thinking.

On a side note, shortly after this broadcast ESPN held another Interview with Coach Saban by correspondent Rece Davis later that afternoon.

     RD (regarding quarterback leadership) how much of that is innate and how much can be taught?

     NS sometimes people think leadership is that you stand up in front of a room and you influence a hundred people with the speech that you give, or the enthusiasm that you approach it with but really there is a power of one to me. Taking the time

Influencing a person here and a person there. And next thing you know that spreads throughout your organization and people are buying into the right things and next thing you know that works well from a team perspective.

Kenneth A. Lipshy, MD, FACS

No comments:

Post a Comment