Joe Gibbs, ESX and the meaning of it all

Joe Gibbs, ESX and the meaning of it all Having just returned from a highly successful ESX show in Charlotte where the educational sessions, networking, speakers and exhibits were top in its class, I struggled with what to write about because it was all key (and you will see more on SIW and the coming July issue of SD&I magazine) but decided to focus on the session by former Washington Redskins Head Coach Joe Gibbs, now turned NASCAR team owner. The keynote luncheon was one of the stellar highlights of the events because Joe Gibbs brought, quite frankly, the meaning of it all to me. We all run hurriedly from event to event and meeting to meeting; staring at our smart phones and not really interacting face to face when we should be, and that’s just what Gibbs talked about in his speech. May I add that SD&I and SIW sponsored the sold-out keynote luncheon with 400 in attendance? Gibbs talked about many things. About his players, his winning teams, who he wanted to be as he grew up and why we all, at first thought, want to make money over everything else. Here stood before the ESX crowd the NFL coach of the year (1982, 1983, 1991) and the man who won Super Bowls XVII, XXII, XXVI with three different quarterbacks. In 12 years, the Gibbs-led Redskins compiled a 124-60-0 regular-season record and a 16-5 record in 21 post-season games. His combined .683 winning percentage is surpassed only by Vince Lombardi and John Madden. So you would think that this would not be of interest to those of us who don’t follow football closely, but I immediately got a sense that this was someone who had been in the trenches and had learned from every walk of life and of humanity and he proved me right. Sure, he talked about football and NASCAR and how those experiences had led him to the real meaning of life and how to, of all things, be successful in business! He recounted his experience and parlayed it into a fantastic talk on how work ethic and motivational skills can help anyone be successful. “You win with one thing: people,” Gibbs explained to the audience, flashing one of his Super Bowl rings. “My entire life has been spent trying to recruit people for a team and to put teams together to be successful, so in many ways we have similarities. You have your own businesses and you have your own teams. You are coaches.” Gibbs told the luncheon audience that there were many more similarities between himself and those in attendance. “Sometimes you have to sacrifice your goals for the team. This is a fast-paced world. You are here to please the customer, to try to pick up all the technology that’s happening. There are some critical things to team building from my 35 years of experience I want to share.” Here are the keys Gibbs provided the audience: • Make sure you define goals in the shortest time span possible, • Make sure you have rewards in place for your people, • Recognize people in front of their peer groups, • Remember that your most important asset is the people on your team and make them feel important, and • Find people who care and treat them well. “If you have the right priorities in your life, like your family and friends, you will be successful. You are going to have the best year going forward because I’m giving you this game plan.” – Deborah L. O’Mara, editor, SD&I magazine

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