Ed Orgeron is the head coach of the national champion LSU Tigers football team.
If you aren’t an avid college football fan, it would be natural to assume that Orgeron’s success was preordained—a Louisiana native returning to his home state to lead LSU to the title. But Orgeron’s road to the top has been anything but smooth, and entrepreneurs can learn key lessons from Coach O, Inc. reports.
1. Fail forward—Orgeron started coaching college football as a graduate student and became the head coach at LSU in his mid-50s. In between, he was fired from the University of Miami and from the University of Mississippi. He served as interim head coach at USC but was passed over for the permanent position. Orgeron’s failures are not dissimilar from those of entrepreneurs who operate businesses that fail. In entrepreneurship, some form of failure is inevitable, but managing it in a way that is positive is integral to success.
2. Persistence pays—Orgeron’s career is a case study in persistence paying off. Orgeron’s perseverance ultimately allowed him to reach the pinnacle in his field. Along similar lines, entrepreneurs intent on operating thriving businesses must recognize that the process of building a highly successful company requires the convergence of a variety of key variables that often take time, sometimes a long time, to come together.
3. Relatability is rewarded—Orgeron has been long recognized as one of the top recruiters in the sport and has long been praised for his ability to motivate and connect with players. When Coach O took over as interim head coach in the middle of a tough season at USC, one of the first things he did to turn the culture around was let his players eat dessert. He famously said at the time, “You feed a lineman a cookie, he’s happy.” While entrepreneurs must have a sound business model in place, without the people to execute the game plan there is no business. Prioritize personnel by taking the time to understand their needs and acting on them, similar to Orgeron lifting the dessert ban. Read the full story from Inc., which explores Orgeron’s career and the lessons to be learned from him.