The University of Alabama has now won consecutive college football national championships. This is the fourth championship for head coach Nick Saban in the last 10 years: three with Alabama and one with LSU. Much credit is being given to Saban’s system—a system he calls the "process."

Saban’s process calls for focusing on the steps to success, not the ultimate goal. As writer Andy Staples explains it in Sports Illustrated, “Instead of thinking about the scoreboard, think about dominating the man on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage. Instead of thinking about a conference title, think about finishing a ninth rep in the weight room. Instead of thinking about graduating, think about writing a great paper for intro to psych.”  The system works because it’s not gimmicky. Don’t daydream. Do your job. If you execute to the best of your ability, the prize will be yours.

In my opinion, the process is most appropriate for financial advisors. Instead of thinking about how your month is going, get on the phone and get an appointment. Don’t worry about your GDC. Make sure you ask for referrals. Don’t be concerned about where you rank in your region or your firm. Think about who you’re going to call tomorrow. 

I feel that what Saban is insisting on is taking it one step at a time. Master the basics and stick to them. Simplify your presentation. Learn three great stories. Set reasonable, yet tough, goals. Create a mission statement for your process. Develop a marketing plan and put it inside your business plan. Solve problems. Learn to listen. Ask for commitments. Focus on your relationships. Keep your eye on the ball. 

Maybe you’re in a cubicle and dreaming about being in a corner office. Maybe you’re working for someone and dreaming about being the owner. Maybe you’re number three in your firm and dreaming about being number one. The wonderful thing about our industry is that anything is possible if you’re willing to do the work. Keep your goal in mind, fine. But think about getting your next appointment.