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Businesses Can Learn From The Success of The Valdosta (GA) Wildcats

With 24 football state championship titles, America can only marvel at the most successful high school program in the nation. What though, can our businesses learn from the success of the 2016 Valdosta High Wildcat football program?

1. Gain Trust Early.

Coach Rodemaker’s plan for the football program heavily involved bringing the community along with him, and that is exactly what he did!

Feed The Cats, Lil’ Cats football camp, Mama June’s buffet lunch, neighborhood bagged lunches, and Midnight Madness with Sonny’s BBQ all corralled the community around the football program.

These activities brought excitement and pride to the team and community, which added a secret ingredient to the winning culture of Valdosta football - TRUST. The Valdosta football program proved the importance as a business to have a plan to connect with the community and gain their support.

When there is trust between managers, staff, and customers, business success is easily achieved. Building internal and external trust must be part of the company’s strategic culture.

2. Have an Adaptive Strategy and Plan.

The characteristics of Valdosta football had to change rapidly. Strategy, personnel, and technology required a different plan this year.

Similar to business, companies must adapt - as industry, competition, and talent change over time - in order to maintain success.

3. Build Team Awareness.

Whether the starting quarterback for the championship or the linebacker, everyone understood they had a job to execute and the team was counting on him to do THAT job. The Valdosta Wildcats learned how to be an effective offensive unit, as well as a resilient defensive unit.

Making sure personnel understand the roles they have in business is just as crucial. You must develop offensive and defensive strategies. It is wise to have leadership and supervisors that are well tuned with how to utilize both strategies.

4. Provide Constant Improvement.

The Wildcats did an outstanding job of analyzing and assessing the adjustments needed to win each week.

In business, it is important to analyze the adjustments needed to provide the best services for customers and to ensure everyone is performing at their highest level. Employee improvement and development is key to sustaining company success. Constant assessments of strengths that work well, weaknesses that need attention, opportunities that should be explored, and threats that can be mitigated are vital.

5. Bring the Hammer!

When Coach Rodemaker took over earlier this year, he took over a program withstanding a state-championship drought for the past few seasons. With his first season at the helm, Rodemaker brought the Cats back to glory by going to work creatively on the entire program!

As an effective business person, you must be willing to creatively “bring the hammer” every single day to find success. And that’s just what our 2016 Valdosta High Wildcats did this football season! Congratulations Cats!

DeWayne Johnson, PMP ( is a Co-Founder and Business Management Consultant with BridgeBuilder Education & Investments, which provides consulting for businesses interested in ways to improve process, strategy, leadership, and staff development. For more information, please visit You can ‘like’ the company on Facebook: and ‘follow’ them on Twitter: @BBEInvestments. You can also connect with DeWayne Johnson on LinkedIn.

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