Saban Smiles

December 22, 2014

Most Saturdays this fall, my family and I watched Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide dismantle their opponents. During the SEC Conference Championship game, victory was at hand, though from Saban’s expression, you would think someone had broken one of Alabama’s national championship trophies. Why so stern in the face of victory I often thought.

From an outsider’s perspective, it’s obvious that when Saban says, “Jump!” His players ask, “How high?” His approach works. So, is the team’s dedication to him a result of his strict leadership and relentless drive, or in spite of it?

We know of CEOs with such intensity and understand that Apple staffers created golden products even though Steve Jobs was said to be intimidating and even insulting. Is this what it takes to truly succeed? Not necessarily.

Celebrating success and demanding success can exist in equilibrium.  A leader must be stern on occasion, but also authentic and forgiving. By setting simple common goals, and working arm-in-arm with the team, leaders share in successes and failures.

Working in the PR industry, here are the three tips on effective leadership I follow everyday.

1. Roll up your sleeves
Stay involved in the work and jump in along with your team; we all entered into this business because we love our craft, so continue to work the nuts and bolts every day.

2. An open door
No question is too small or insignificant; be open and listen fearlessly.

3. Adaptability
Every person on your team responds differently; identify what motivates people to ensure overall team success.

My guess is that Nick Saban shares these same beliefs, and that, at times, he lets his guard down with the team. Still, when Alabama is up by multiple touchdowns with the clock ticking to zero, it sure would be nice to see him smile.

Ketchum clients have trusted this communications leader for strategic and creative counsel since 2004 when he joined Ketchum. Today Peters leverages his 24 years of public relations experience to craft and implement effective communication and marketing programming with an emphasis on the ever-evolving retail sector.

Peters works with client teams to drive feet to store (brick and mortar) and clicks to sites (e-tail) from product and brand launches, media relations, corporate and marketing communications, issues & crisis management and path-to-purchase messaging.

Additionally, as Marketplace Leader, South, Peters oversees all operations, client service, and talent across Ketchum’s Southern region which includes offices in Atlanta, Dallas, and Raleigh, N.C.

Peters is a retail expert, having collaborated on projects in grocery, food service and dining, QSR, general merchandise stores, convenience and gas stations, home improvement, health and personal care, electronics and e-commerce.

Prior to Ketchum, Peters spent eight years in the corporate sector with energy utility giant Southern Company, first with Georgia Power, and later with global power producer and commodity retail marketer Mirant (now NRG); and three years with the American Red Cross.

Peters received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History with a concentration in Communications and Journalism from Wake Forest University. He is also a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology Business Mid-Management program.

Peters is self-acclaimed barbeque connoisseur and chef. He enjoys reading, snow-skiing, tennis and witnessing his four children play basketball, lacrosse, water polo, football and other activities. He and his wife do their best to raise their teens in Dallas, along with a wily two-year-old Catahoula hound dog.