CARE: Lynn AD Devin Crosby’s Four Pillars for Success

August 15th, 2019 | by Devin Crosby
CARE: Lynn AD Devin Crosby’s Four Pillars for Success


The fundamentals of CARE Four pillars for success in your team, business, marriage, organization … life.

You have the ability to advance the success and joy of your organization, team, marriage or family at this very moment while also experiencing complete peace of mind at all times. This is a bold claim, but it is possible through four fundamental actions that can be applied to the various relationships in your life. As an executive in collegiate athletics, a proud husband to Cindy and a father of two daughters, I want to share what I’ve discovered professionally and personally to drive your continued success.

Let’s begin with my organization, Lynn University. Lynn has become a model athletics department in higher education. We advanced to the NCAA final six times in the last four years and won the national championship in men’s golf in 2018 and 2019. Additionally, adidas agreed to outfit our student-athletes in an exclusive $1 million agreement—the most lucrative apparel deal in NCAA Division II history and more advanced than the majority of NCAA Division I institutions. In the meantime, our student-athletes earned an average GPA of 3.32.

Our success is the byproduct of one simple philosophy that I use to lead my team: the word “CARE.” Prior to joining Lynn, I discovered that:

People are your most valuable assets.
A leader’s primary responsibility is to serve the needs of the people they lead.
The feeling of safety is a primary need for all people.

I place people above all, followed by the values of Lynn, as the foundation of every decision. This counter-cultural approach eliminates administrative red tape, senseless meetings, and office politics while encouraging each person to contribute to our mission of student-athlete success. The fundamentals of CARE can be applied for the success of your business, your marriage, your team or anyone working with other people toward a common goal.

The four pillars of CARE represent an upside-down approach based on humility:

1. Connect

2. Adopt

3. Rest

4. Excellence

CARE | CONNECT with people.

Traditionally, the leader’s mindset is to drive results by setting goals and focusing on bottom-line results. This style of management was utilized during the industrial revolution and still remains quite normal in present-day business.

careThe CARE leadership approach is to set a culture of safety. When people feel safe, they produce results of innovation and success. Consider the role of a servant. A servant gains an acute understanding of the one whom he serves in order to best serve (lead). Understanding your team members, their families, their background and their personal goals while presenting your authentic self will produce a feeling of safety. The more you connect with your people and actively demonstrate concern for them, a greater feeling of safety naturally takes place.

This concept serves true in marriage. It’s easy to stop perusing your spouse with the same energy you once did while in the dating process. A level of complacency can develop and many marriages dissolve into the appearance of a roommate arrangement or worse … divorce. However, an active pursuit to know and connect greater with your spouse produces a feeling of safety for the marriage to protect each person from the traps of boredom, marital loneliness or emotional infidelity.

Lynn men’s golf won the 2019 NCAA National Championship with a new head coach who had no previous connection to Lynn, NCAA golf or the state of Florida. The primary ingredients to winning this championship were elite golfers combined with a shared purpose.

The new head coach, Andy Walker, established sincere relationships with each student on the roster and cultivated an environment where each player and their athletic growth was more important than the weekly tournament results during the season. The concept of service by connection was naturally applied by each member of the team and winning the national championship was the byproduct.

Give this a try today with a direct report, a teammate or even your spouse. Simply ask them this question, “What’s important to you?” This simple question can serve as the starting point for a much deeper connection with each person you lead, collaborate or experience life with.

CARE | ADOPT the values of your organization.

Our culture portrays the successful leader as an expert that transforms the organization upon their arrival. Nothing could be farther from the truth when taking the CARE approach to serving the organization.

carePrior to my tenure as Lynn’s athletic director, I developed the CARE philosophy and it naturally became part of my business DNA. I was prepared to force it into the Lynn athletics culture upon my arrival in 2015. Thank goodness for the advice of my mentor and wife, Cindy! She told me to dedicate at least six to nine months purely adopting the attributes and values of the university. I clearly remember her saying, “Spend time simply talking to various members of the campus community to understand what has made Lynn University the special and unique place that it already is. Once you deeply understand the fundamental characteristics of the organization, you can then begin to adopt those values into your leadership philosophy.”

Lesson learned … The values of your organization will always take precedence over your philosophy, style, and approach. AND always listen to your wife.


Our society has forced people to feel the need to be busy in order to feel productive. Multitasking has become the norm, while anxiety and depression have reached an all-time high for adults and youth in the United States. In addition, life and the circumstances it presents are challenging. No person expects to receive a medical diagnosis of cancer.

There are no classes that teach the proper response when your contract is not renewed. It breaks my heart to watch friends and neighbors walk through the valley of divorce. My heart continues to break for the insecure college student or adult whose identity develops from the opinion of others.

I believe there is a better way. This is to find something greater than you to rest in and realize you are not in control of the universe nor does this world revolve around you. I rest in the truth that my relationship with Jesus Christ is the foundation of my life and that God is sovereign and in complete control in all things that take place. You may not be Christian or believe in God and my goal is not to change your belief system.

I share my approach to encourage you to find something GREATER than you to place your hope, personal peace and focus in. For you, you may rest in gratitude, meditation or mindfulness. Whatever you choose to rest within MUST be bigger than you and not about you.

careCARE | EXCELLENCE in everything that represents you and your organization.

This is a simple one that is oftentimes overlooked, especially if a leader is intensely focused on results.

CARE is to demand 100% excellence in everything YOU do as the leader. How do you make others feel safe? How do you connect greater with each member of your team? Are you serving the needs of your spouse despite the natural feelings to focus on yourself? How do you help the teammate that others avoid? How do you actively communicate the values of the organization to all levels of people within the company?

Excellence is about the expectations you set for yourself. Others will notice and model your lead … and this will advance you and your organization or team to greater success.

Professional skill is not enough to be a good leader. Take these four actions to further your success as a leader:

1. Connect: Express sincere concern for the people entrusted to you.

2. Adopt: Show your devotion to your organization’s values.

3. Rest: Find something greater than you for your hope.

4. Excellence: Set a high expectation for yourself.

Connect. Adopt. Rest. Excellence.

Devin Crosby About Devin Crosby
Devin Crosby became Lynn University’s seventh director of intercollegiate athletics on May 4, 2015. Since his arrival, Crosby has built an athletics culture of spirit, service, and strength—values he developed with President Kevin M. Ross to align with university attributes.

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