2018 Housing Summit

Lou Holtz on Leadership in Business and Beyond

Legendary football coach Lou Holtz discusses the seven keys to leading a team and overcoming challenges, whether on a football field or in a boardroom.

CEOs, much like head coaches, hear a lot of problems and complaints, and they make a lot of sacrifices. What they also have in common is their ambition to lead. Being a leader can be hugely rewarding, but it also comes with responsibility, because people count on you and your leadership. Lou Holtz presents key learnings in leadership, teamwork and commitment to excellence—traits that are invaluable in leading teams on the football field or in the boardroom.

7 Keys to Leadership

1. There will be problems and obstacles standing in the way of almost everything you do. Don’t tell people about your problems—90 percent don’t care, and the other 10 percent are glad you have them.


2. As a leader, you have two mandates: satisfy the fight and make a profit. Too often, we complicate life and stray from the fundamentals.


3. Have a vision for where you want to go, and make a plan for how to get there. Think about what you want to accomplish, and be honest about what it will take to cross that finish line. What talents and skills are needed, what sacrifices need to be made and what risks can be taken to make it happen?


4. You might succeed if others don’t believe in you, but you have no chance of succeeding if you don’t believe in yourself. Quitting is the perfect solution to a temporary problem. When you’re at the bottom, you have two choices: stay down, or pick yourself up.


5. Make sure everyone in the organization shares the same core values. Whether you’re talking about family or business, core values are what holds everything together. It comes down to truly believing in what you’re doing.


6. If a challenge escalates, the need for teamwork must escalate. There’s no way to win when we work against each other. A team can accomplish things that individuals can’t accomplish alone.


7. Show people you genuinely care. It doesn’t take a catastrophe to happen to show someone you appreciate them. Make sure people would miss you if you didn’t show up.



Lou Holtz is a legendary football coach and served as an ESPN analyst from 2004–2015. In his career as head coach for 34 years, Holtz has inspired and motivated others to live with purpose. He has been unprecedented in his success in leading teams to victory, coaching every one of his football teams to championships within two seasons. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.


Used with permission. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of JPMorgan Chase. JPMorgan Chase believes the information contained in this material to be from reliable sources but make no representation or warranty as to its accuracy or completeness.

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