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Cadillac Level Leadership

Updated: Mar 1

Cadillac Williams Auburn football
Coach Cadillac

On November 26, 2022, Auburn University experienced more than just a game. While they faced a tough loss to their intrastate rival, Alabama, the aftermath of the game was what truly captured the essence of leadership. Interim coach Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, coaching his last game as head coach, delivered a speech that resonated not only with his team but also with anyone who understands the depth and responsibilities of leadership.

Cadillac passionately voiced,

"Give love to the Auburn family, man. The people. Man, our fans have done shown up and showed out. This place is special. But in order for anything to be special in life, even Auburn University to be special, you have to open up your heart. You have to make it not about you. Serve. Serve. Serve. If you don't get nothing else from this, serve. Serve."
"Even when things ain't going your way, serve. Even when you don't got nothing in your bank account, serve. Even when you're hungry, serve. There is a lot of power in serving" (Source:

As a fervent Auburn alum and die-hard Auburn football fan, nothing stings more than a loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide. However, Cadillac's speech transcends the confines of a game. It reflects the spirit of a leader who poured his heart into guiding a team through challenging times. His words underscore a universal leadership principle: the power of service.

John Maxwell's leadership framework emphasizes the 'People Development' level. It's about leaders committed to the growth of others, epitomizing servant leadership. Such leaders eclipse their personal aspirations, channeling their energies to foster growth in others.

Simon Sinek eloquently encapsulated this sentiment:

"Leadership is not about being in charge. It is about taking care of those in your charge."

Authentic leadership is influence. The most profound way we can influence and serve those around us is by uplifting and nurturing them. In challenging times, when the path is uncertain and resources are scarce, the 'Cadillac' level of service demands we set aside our own needs, ensuring others thrive and flourish.

To all leaders, heed this call to service. Embrace the spirit of servant leadership, and let's cultivate a world where everyone gets the opportunity to shine.

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