Legendary football coach Lou Holtz kicked off the 10th annual Winning Is Everything practice management conference in Las Vegas today with an outline for a successful leadership strategy.

Detailing specific moments in his coaching career, which included time as head coach for the New York Jets, the University of South Carolina, the University of Minnesota and Notre Dame, Holtz imparted past locker-room wisdom to the attendees, dressed for the occasion in team jerseys.
Holtz presented the three critical characteristics of a good leader: do right, do everything to the best of your ability, and make sure people know you care.

He also emphasized the importance of teamwork with five more goals. These included the recognition that: people on a team need each other; an individual's role cannot jeopardize the team’s goals; as the challenge escalates, the need for teamwork must elevate; the team must improve; and there must not be a weak link.

Telling the story of coaching the University of Arkansas to its upset Orange Bowl victory against Oklahoma in 1978, Holtz said the win was not a result of a coaching strategy, but the underdogs “focusing on what we had instead of what we didn’t.”

A win then—which Holtz defined as meaning “what’s important now”—comes from the right attitude. And it requires dreamers at the helm. Martin Luther King, Jr., he said, would not have made as impactful a speech had it started, “I have a strategic plan!”

Above strategy and an executive's title at the company, leadership is borne of an “association with people who you trust and who care,” Holtz concluded.

But not before making his Super Bowl prediction for February: Holtz is calling it for the Green Bay Packers.

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