Wells: Adversity is part of life
USU head football coach Matt Wells spoke about leadership and adversity at the dean’s convocation as part of the Huntsman School of Business’ Partners in Business Conference on Tuesday. He also received the Professional Achievement Award.
“Adversity can come in the form of injuries,” Wells said. “I’ve been in programs where there was a death. We’ve got drama. Our job as a coach is to reduce that drama. Your job as a leader is to reduce that drama and get to the task at hand.”
Wells said to reduce the drama, first and foremost, the players have to trust the coach.
“You need to have a relationship,” he said. “If you don’t all your knowledge, all your degrees, all you learned goes out the window. You need to be a people person.”
One of the sayings of the building Wells works in is that the second floor couldn’t do it without the first floor. The first floor is the locker room — the players. Wells said none of the coaches could not do it without them, but the players couldn’t do it without them. There’s got to be a relationship, and that’s where leaders come in; the ability to influence others, Wells said.
“You can’t win what you don’t produce,” Wells said. “Earn the right to be heard. That’s what I learned when I was a student at USU. Until you produce, shut your mouth. When that time comes, open up your mouth, because everyone will know you learned that right to be heard.”
Be humble as a leader. Serve others. Don’t become complacent when there’s success, he said.
“The minute we get comfortable, boom — something happens,” Wells said. “It’s adversity. They call it life. Deal with it. Great leaders are doers and are proactive.”
Wells said the three fundamental philosophies in his program are trust, decision-making and core values.
“Trust is a two-way street,” he said. “Players need to trust the coaches. There is no ‘we’ or ‘us’ in our program. It’s the team.”
Having core values doesn’t guarantee success, but gives a chance for it. When players make a mistake, they aren’t kicked off the team because Wells believes in mercy, but two strikes and it’s “sayonara.” There are too many kids doing the right thing, Wells said.
“Each and every decision you make has a consequence. That is it. Good or bad,” he said.
Partners in Business’ sixth Leadership Conference also featured Sean Covey, the executive vice president of consulting firm FranklinCovey; John Richards, the head of operations for Google Fiber in Provo; a number of entrepreneurial executives, a marketing professor and researcher.
“The Leadership Conference is a special conference put on by Partners in Business and co-hosted by various organizations on campus and in the community, including the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and the Entrepreneurship Club,” said Ryan Taylor, president of Alpha Tau Omega. “The theme of this year’s Leadership Conference is based around using innovation to lead in creative ways.”
Taylor, who served as a student host for Stan Prueitt, a performance consultant for the education department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, looks forward most to learning about and networking with him and the other speakers.
“Despite the name ‘Partners in Business,’ a look at the list of speakers shows that the leaders who will be among us come from a variety of backgrounds and can offer great insight in many different disciplines,” Taylor said. “Furthermore, the conference is not aimed at business students. The conference, which attracts leaders from across the state at a hefty cost, is free for student registration on the Partners in Business website. Students from all majors will benefit from attending and learning from these leaders.”
Taylor hoped to learn new and innovative ways to grow and improve his own organization.
“Students who attend are able to learn from and network with the employees and professionals that attend the conference,” said Annie Knight, operational excellence conference coordinator for Partners in Business. “It’s a great place to drop a resume and make connections for the future.”
There were around 300 attendees over a two-day conference last year.
“Speakers are contacted by the conference coordinator, Tim McFall,” Knight said. “They can be referred to him through his conference committee or through the staff here at Partners in Business. There is also a volunteer option where the speaker can fill out a form online, which is sent to us directly at Partners.”
Knight said having Wells speaking would bring in a crowd outside the business school.
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