College Football – Steve Sarkisian – A Real Breath of Fresh Air For Washington’s Huskies

He is apparently half-Armenian and half-Irish, 34 years old and the new head coach of the University of Washington’s football team. Meet Steve Sarkisian, young, energetic, successful and excited about the opportunity to turn around the fortunes of the Husky football program.

That will not be as difficult a problem as Washington’s current 0-12 season record might suggest. We are purposefully not mentioning the fired coach whom Sarkisian is replacing. Sarkisian and the University of Washington deserve a clean slate at this moment in time. The old guy is history better left unwritten.

Before he arrived in Seattle to be announced as the new coach, Sarkisian had never been head coach of a major college football program. Some pundits consider his hiring a liability because of his inexperience as a head coach. I consider his inexperience an asset because Sarkisian is not bringing with him a bunch of failed practices, tired beliefs about what worked 20 years ago, and old cronies as part of the coaching staff.

Just winning a single game next season will make him more successful than his predecessor.

Sarkisian has been the quarterback coach, offensive coordinator and assistant head coach for the University of Southern California the last 2 years. USC is a national powerhouse led by head coach Pete Carroll. So what’s the big deal with USC and Pete Carroll? Just this:

In the 7 years prior to this season, Carroll is 76-14 (84%) at USC, the best winning percentage of any current Division 1 coach with at least 5 years of experience. Carroll won National Championships in 2003 and 2004, won an unprecedented 6 consecutive Pac 10 titles and appeared in an NCAA record 6 consecutive BCS bowl games, won an NCAA record of at least 11 victories each season, and has been ranked in the AP Top 4 in each of those seasons.

This year the Trojans won their 7th consecutive Pac 10 title, and are again 11-1 going into their 7th consecutive BCS Rose Bowl appearance, this time against Penn State.

So what has Sarkisian had to do with Carroll’s success? He was there 7 of the last 8 years, first as the quarterback coach and then as the quarterback coach, offensive coordinator and assistant head coach the last 2 years. Sarkisian led the USC offensive effort while helping develop Heisman Trophy winners Matt Leinart (drafted by the Arizona Cardinals) and Carson Palmer (drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals). He also helped develop John David Brody (drafted by the Minnesota Vikings).

It’s also one thing to coach quarterbacks when you haven’t been one or been a very successful one, and another thing to do so as a great college quarterback, which Sarkisian was at Brigham Young University.

After two years at a community college, Sarkisian started for BYU as a junior, passing for 3,437 yards and 20 touchdowns. He finished his first season by going 31-for-34 for 399 yards and 3 touchdowns in BYU’s 45-28 victory over Fresno State, setting an NCAA record for completion percentage (91%), and 2 of his 3 incompletions were intentionally thrown out of bounds to avoid the pass rush.

As a senior, Sarkisian passed for 4,027 yards and 33 TDs with a 173+ pass efficiency rating, the best in the NCAA. BYU finished the regular season at 13-1, won the Western Athletic Conference Championship and then beat Kansas State 19-15 in the Cotton Bowl. He was selected as WAC Offensive Player of the Year and a second-team NCAA All-American.

While Washington will be Steve Sarkisian’s first head coaching job, he is clearly a winner as a player and a winner as a coach at USC.

Thus far, Sarkisian has made 2 quality decisions-he accepted the challenge at Washington and he didn’t keep any of the holdover coaches from the 0-12 team he inherited. Nice work, Steve. Who wants or needs winless coaches?

Sarkisian’s first order of business (besides hiring a staff and recruiting like there is no tomorrow) will be to change the culture of Washington’s program by restoring a winning attitude with belief.

Only time will tell how much success Sarkisian will enjoy with the Washington Husky football program, but one thing is for sure: Athletic Director Scott Woodward’s decision to hire him is a giant step in the right direction.

Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley

Small Business Coaching on Why Leads May Not Be Converting

For a lot of small business owners, leads may not be a problem. They may be receiving lots of leads. It’s the conversion of those leads that may be the problem. So in this article, let’s explore 4 reasons your leads may not be converting and what you can do about it.

1. Lead or Prospect Mismatch

Some people believe you have to get LOADS of random leads then some may shake out to be your ideal customer or target market. That’s a laborious process and it also produces false leads – people who were never really interested in what you have in the first place.

Leads may not be converting because they truly aren’t your ideal customer and they never were. If that’s the case, evaluate who those leads are, and check that they match the profile of your target market. If they’re not an ideal prospect, don’t waste time following up. Instead focus on generating more qualified leads that truly reflect your target market who is hungry for what you offer.

2. Follow-Up Fortunes

One of the things I discuss with clients is setting up a follow-up process for their business. There’s a fortune in the follow up, and honestly, there may be people out there just waiting to whip out their credit cards if only you’d pick up the phone and follow up with them.

When we’re pondering how to sell services, it’s important to create great follow-up systems that produce sales. A clear set of steps you take to follow up with someone who expressed interest in what you have to offer but hasn’t made a buying decision yet. The thing to remember is that customers buy not when we want them to buy; they buy when they are ready to buy. And this is why it’s important to have a follow-up system where you continue to provide value and you also remind them of how you can help.

My weekly Ezine is a good example of a follow-up system. It shows up every week with valuable information in response to subscriber questions, and it’s also a reminder of how I can help further if you’re interested in going deeper on any of the topics I discuss.

3. The Sting Rejection

Sometimes when we follow up, we essentially get a “No thanks, I’m not interested.” Ouch. But is it really an ouch? To me, sales is all about genuinely finding out the customer’s need is first, and listening very well to see if I truly have a solution to those problems/challenges. If I do have a solution that can help, then I’ll share what options exist. And I do so by giving the prospect all the information they need to make a decision.

Sometimes we are not converting leads because we’re very afraid to follow up. Afraid of rejection. Afraid of bothering or pestering people. I’d invite you to embrace that the sale is not about us (as small business owners). It’s about the prospect or client. Avoid getting emotionally attached to the outcome of following up.

If you know you can help someone eliminate a challenge or frustration by what you offer, then why not follow up to let them know. Sometimes that requires that you shift your thinking from someone trying to “get a sale” to becoming a provider of solutions. And if that follow-up leads into having a sales conversation where you’re sharing specifics about your offerings, sure, they may say “no.” Their decision is simply a choice and not a rejection of you. All that said, however, you do need an effective sales conversion process… which brings me to my next point.

4. Sales Conversion Process

Prospects convert to paying clients more easily when you have a clear sales process through which you can take them. If you don’t have a clear, step-by-step method to take a prospect from interest to purchase, this may be why you’re not converting them. Sometimes we get stuck because we’re staring the list of prospects but we really don’t know what we would say if we did follow up with them. So we procrastinate and we don’t take action.

5 Methods to Potty Training Your Siberian Husky

So you’ve bought home a Siberian Husky puppy. One of the first challenges is potty training. Another term for this is simply “housebreaking”. From the very beginning, you must start to process of teaching your dog where she can eliminate and that she must hold on when left by herself. When done right, potty training your Siberian Husky should only take a couple weeks to complete.

The biggest rule of housebreaking is that you need to start the process from the very first day that you receive your Siberian Husky, and especially while she’s still a young puppy. Huskies are a very independent, smart and dominant breed of dog and therefore typically requires a lot of leadership and assertiveness when potty training. Your Sibe may appear stubborn and will try to “break the rules” by peeing behind the sofa in spite of all your training. If this is the case, it is simply a matter of using better consistency when applying the rules.

Without further ado, the following are the top 5 methods to potty training your Siberian Husky:

1. Use a dog crate

By far the most helpful tool for potty training your Siberian husky is a dog crate. By using a crate, your pup will naturally understand not eliminate where they sleep. The crate will also help in training your Siberian Husky to control her bladder. By confining your puppy for shorts periods at a time and then slowly increasing this amount of time, your puppy will learn to hold her bladder before eliminating. Before long, your puppy will be able to go through the whole night without needing to eliminate.

But you must be careful that the dog crate is not too large, or else the pup will start to potty at one end while sleeping at the other end. This is not what you want. When starting out, you will also want to line the inside of the crate with newspaper in case of accidents.

2. Stick to a routine

When housebreaking your Siberian Husky, it is best to set a schedule of when it is time for feeding, playing, training and sleeping. By keeping a consistent daily schedule, your dog will learn to adapt and begin to understand when she will have time outside to eliminate if needed. This will also provide the vital training of helping her learn to hold her bladder.

3. Know when your puppy needs to eliminate

One of the biggest things for housebreaking your puppy is to keep an on her and understand exactly when she need to go. The typical sign of needing to go eliminate is when your dog puts her nose to the floor and tail in the air. This can also involve whining or barking. As soon as you find any sign of needing to eliminate, take the puppy outside immediately and let her relieve herself.

A good trick is to repeat the same command when taking the puppy outside. This could be asking “Is it potty time?” or “Do you need to go outside?” Repeating this over and over while taking the dog outside will allow the dog to learn when it is time to eliminate.

4. Use positive encouragement

Another needed aspect of potty training is to use positive encouragement. As soon as your puppy has finished her business, you need to give her a lot of praise. This way the puppy will learn to associate good feelings to eliminating outside.

The wrong way to go about potty training is rubbing the puppy’s nose in her own stink, as this will only lead to confusion and bad reinforcement. This also applies to shouting at the dog for peeing in the house.

5. Take care of accidents

On the road to housebreaking your puppy, there are bound to be slip-ups when your dog accidentally pees inside the house. As soon as you see this sort of behaviour, you must pick the little one up and take her outside. You must also quickly clean up the mess as soon as possible in order to get rid of all traces and smells. Any scent of urine inside the house will mean to the dog that it is OK to eliminate there.