A football legend’s game plan to transforming your business

We talk a good game about change and transformation here at the Business Learning Institute, but we’re no Barry Alvarez.

In 1990, Alvarez took over as head coach for a University of Wisconsin football team that hadn’t had a winning season since 1984 — and had won only seven Big Ten Conference games during that entire span. Three years later, his Badgers went 10-1-1, finished the year as the nation’s sixth-best team, and beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl. They’ve been perennial winners ever since.

How’s THAT for transformation?

Today, Alvarez serves as Wisconsin’s athletic director, but he is still credited with being the driving force behind the Badgers’ transformation. And his philosophies on leadership go well beyond the football field.

“Barry Alvarez isn’t an athletic director,” says Allan Koltin, CEO of Koltin Consulting Group in Chicago, “he’s a transformer of business.”

That’s why Koltin and the rest of the organizers of the 2016 Winning Is Everything conference in Las Vegas picked Alvarez to keynote the event.

And Alvarez didn’t disappoint. His address was packed with punchy strategic one-liners that could have been culled from the pages of Harvard Business Review. Most of them boiled down to a central theme:

Transforming your business starts with transforming your culture.

To that end, Alvarez has plenty of advice.

Great advice, and well worth heeding. Our success going forward will depend less on technical skills and more on our people, our teams, and our cultures.

Game on.


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