Communications Intern Thomas Barrow.

Communications Intern Erin Main.

Written By: Dr. Anthony Edwards, Senior Vice President for Talent Development, Attraction and Retention

At this year’s TCU Football Preview Luncheon, Coach Gary Patterson provided insight into the parts of coaching that most of us don’t get to see and provided strategies that apply in business as well as football. Here are a few leadership lessons from the luncheon:

Winning is about so much more than x’s and o’s.

People can see wins and losses. Often winning results from activities that may not be easily measured or visible to most people. Leading a team or organization requires understanding of operations, but you may also have to give speeches, raise money, manage budgets, leverage technology, develop strategic plans, build relationships internally and externally, develop talent, attract talent, and retain talent.

Know your strengths – consult people and hire people who have other skills.

Coach Patterson is self-aware and understands his strengths. He actively seeks out people with different strengths to test ideas and hires assistant coaches to complement his strengths. One way to do this in your organization is to have your team take the StrengthsFinder assessment, DISC, or other available assessments and use the assessment when evaluating prospective employees so that you intentionally attract talent with the strengths you need in your organization.

Find a win-win situation after setbacks.

Successful teams recover after a missed tackle, turnover, incomplete pass, or lost game. Business setbacks might include losing talent or losing a contract or sale. Learning from losses and building on them separates winning organizations from their competitors.

Off-the-field barriers may affect performance on the field.

Student athletes at any institution may face academic or personal challenges. Part of successful leadership includes helping student athletes overcome these challenges so that they can focus and perform on the field. As a leader in your organization, your employees may have challenges outside of work that influence their performance. Ignoring these challenges may result in a decrease in individual and organizational productivity, which can ultimately affect the bottom line.

Tough training equals success under adversity.

Teams that have more challenging off-season tend to perform better during the season. In your organization, providing opportunities for your employees to take on greater challenges will prepare them to know what to do when your organization or your industry faces trouble.

Take ideas from other successful people, but focus on those that do more with less.

Coach Patterson knows many great coaches, but seems especially impressed with coaches that achieve success without the largest athletic budgets or best recruiting classes. Depending on the size of your company or your resources, you may not be able to pay more to attract talent

Get to the point where you say no more than you say yes.

Successful people prioritize. To engage in your most important activities and achieve your big audacious goals, you can’t do everything, even if the ideas are good. By saying no to the least important, you are saying yes to the most important.

If the grass is greener somewhere else, water your own grass or get new grass where you are.

Coach Patterson has had a long career at TCU. His advice was that if another team looks better, work to make your organization better instead of planning your exit. From a talent perspective, that might mean developing the talent in your organization and/or attracting talent to your organization.

If you have questions about how to attract, develop, and retain talent within your organization, please contact