Skip to main content

Scott Stricklin: Success is the enemy of innovation

Scott Stricklin was formally introduced as Florida's athletics director on Tuesday. Before arriving in Gainesville, Stricklin granted an interview to former Florida walk-on offensive lineman-turned-Sports Illustrated columnist Andy Staples, and the end product is a comprehensive look at what Stricklin will inherit at Florida. In short: it's a massive athletics department with even larger potential -- see: four football and basketball from April 2006 to January 2009 -- that had stagnated in later years under Jeremy Foley.

Stricklin will have to convince Florida donors to open up their check books, but he arrives prepared and experienced to do such a thing. In fact, take a look at this passage, which can apply to any walk of life:

Stricklin seems to understand this. Asked about the biggest challenge he faces, he thought back to a speech he once heard from AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. "He said success is the enemy of innovation," Stricklin said. Then Stricklin elaborated. "When you're really successful, you don't want anybody to move," he said. "You want everybody to stay right where they are because things are going really well for you. Actually, it needs to be the opposite. You need to keep looking for ways to adapt and change and stay ahead. What's the old saying? The only thing constant is change."

A real-life example of that can be found, ironically, in the plight of Les Miles at LSU. Recall back to that Game of the Century in 2011, when Miles's No. 1-ranked Tigers went to No. 2 Alabama and won.

READ: The top ten moments of the Les Miles era at LSU.

Miles never beat Alabama again, because each time the Tide and Tigers met, Saban's offense looked a little bit different -- to the point now where Alabama's attack looks wholly unrecognizable from its 2011 iteration -- while LSU's looked the same.

Saban recognized that success was the perfect catalyst for change, and Miles thought success was confirmation to keep doing the same thing.