There’s a lesson in Auburn’s sudden fall

Friday, December 21, 2012, Vol. 36, No. 51

So what happened to Auburn?

For years I have been telling my clients that if you desire or need to change something in your life, you basically have three options:

You can change something about yourself (the least used, most effective option)

You can try to change something about someone else (the most used, least effective option)

You can change something about your environment.

With this in mind, I recently had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine who happens to be a serious Auburn University football fan.

By the way, for those of you not from the state of Alabama, professional storyteller Bill Jones (former pastor of the local Balmoral Presbyterian church) often relays that when a child is born in the state of Alabama, their birth certificate specifies birth weight, eye color, parents and other such relevant information.

In addition to all these vital statistics, there are two boxes that allow the proper authorities to check whether the child is an Alabama or Auburn football fan.

Perhaps football is taken a bit seriously in Alabama. I don’t know for sure.

In the name of full disclosure, my birth certificate was checked “Alabama.”

Anyhow, back to my Auburn friend. During our conversation I asked him, “What the %#&!* happened over the last two years at Auburn?”

For those non-fans here’s a summary, Auburn got a new coach, shortly after this event Auburn won the national championship; the new coach was named coach of the year.

Now fast-forward two years: Auburn has lost nine out of 12 games this year, including all eight games against SEC rivals.

The former coach of the year and all his assistants have been fired.

Now let’s back up a bit. During the national championship year Auburn was blessed with many good players; however, one player on offense and one player on defense were off-the-charts talented.

It was my Auburn friend’s opinion that these two players were so talented that they lifted the entire team to national championship-level playing standards.

Next we got all philosophical-minded and decided that maybe it is also possible for one or two key players to lift an entire team to greatness in the workplace.

We further decided that if this is true, it is also possible for one or two disruptive people to create havoc among a group of team members.

That brings us back to the third change option.

If you feel it is time for change, you can change your environment as in leave-and-go-somewhere-else or, you can change the environment by adding the right uplifting team members or dealing with (or eliminating) team members who drag everyone down.

So here we are, late in the year heading toward 2013.

Why not make 2013 the year that you identify, develop, recognize and nurture team members who lift others to championship-level performance and deal head-on with those who drag everyone else down.

In other words, pay closer attention to the players in your environment. What, if anything, needs changing in your environment? RTR!

Chris Crouch is CEO of DME Training and Consulting and author of several books on improving productivity. Contact him through