One of my favorite stories of the college football season came from the University of Southern California. The Trojans had an awful start to the year. They fired their head coach a month into the season. They replaced him with Ed Orgeron — an assistant coach who had previous served as head coach at Ole Miss.
And had lost — often — at Ole Miss.
When he got the new job at USC, he was asked about his time at Ole Miss:
“I was given a good shot, and I was really discouraged that I didn’t make it,” Orgeron said. “I had to look at myself.”
So what happened this time around? He looked at what he’d done at Ole Miss, and he did the opposite. Literally:
Every decision from team meals to whether music played at practice, Orgeron reversed. Fifteen times a day, he says, Orgeron thinks about how he would have done something at Ole Miss and then stops and goes the opposite direction.
Suddenly, a Southern Cal program that was languishing in tension and self-pity has started winning again, having fun again
Under Orgeron, USC finished the year 6-2. And the lesson here is so great: We don’t always do the work the right way the first time. We make mistake in the way we treat people, and the way we try to get things done.
Sometimes, it requires you to make little fixes. Sometimes, you have to make huge changes.
But you can’t be stubborn. If it’s not working — and if the results aren’t there — you have to be willing to be flexible. Change can be a powerful thing.