Super Bowl winning football coach and winning NASCAR team owner kicked off the 10th Annual Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium in Chicago today with a presentation that highlighted the key points to focus on in team building.
Not surprisingly his sports endeavours require a focus on teamwork, but defining what a team is and motivating a group of people to behave like a team are different things.
"When we started in racing, we had 17 employees. Today we have 330. We had one engineer. Today we have 20," says Gibbs. These people have different jobs and different skills, different methods, different personalities.
"How many times do we give the accountant the same test we give the salesman?" Gibbs says that the Washington Redskins used to look at SAT scores of college players to determine their "football intelligence." A mistake he said, but a proper test was drafted that turned out to be a very successful method of testing "football intelligence," which helps put the right people in place.
"Test for what you want in the person. Make sure you are doing that."
Choosing the right people is not easy, he says. He has learned to look for some specific qualities, which can be defined as commitment.
"They may not be the smartest, but they’re gong to come early and they are going to stay late they are going to add to the office."
In business, he says, it can be more difficult to provide goals for a team. In sport, the goal is easy to communicate.
How often, asked Gibbs, do employees go month after month without a clear idea if they are winning or losing, with no game plan or goals?
"We need to get them in a competitive environment. Define the goals in the shortest time possible. Then we need to hang some carrots out there. They don’t need to be expensive, but we need to be sure that we hang those things out in front of their peer group.
"People love recognition. People are competitive."
But a team is about all the members. Managers need to be inclusive and strong communicators.
"Can you make everybody on your team feel important? Can you sell the on a plan, be able to teach an communicate a simple plan and make them feel important?"
Overall, success comes from the people who put around you, he says, and how you lead them. There are no shortcuts, he adds.
"If you take the low road and you play the game by cheating, in the long run you are not going to make it. The high quality people are the ones who take the high road."
The 10th Annual Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium runs Wednesday May 11 and Thursday May 12. It has raised more than $1 million U.S. in scholarships.
Have your say: