How To Play To Win The Game

Lexi Tucker
Posted on May 17, 2017

Herm Edwards, former NFL player, scout, assistant coach, and head coach, taught the audience how to “coach” their team to victory.

Herm Edwards, former NFL player, scout, assistant coach, and head coach, taught the audience how to “coach” their team to victory.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Growing up, NFL head coach and player Herm Edwards only had three flavors of ice cream in the house: Strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla. He tried hard to convince his father to switch things up and take him to 31 Flavors, but he wouldn’t budge.

Often we get comfortable because we do things a certain way. But the one thing that should never change? Your principles.

Edwards’ keynote address at the 2017 International LCT Show kept with the theme of embracing the new, but reminded operators of the impact the standing of their names has on the reputation of the business they run.

The Correct Way To Adapt

A satisfied customer of the chauffeured transportation industry, Edwards compared the world of limos to that of the NFL. He mentioned his organization was constantly changing as well.

“I worked under the NFL shield for 30 years; as a player, coach, and scout. I’ve seen it evolve,” he said. “And sometimes, we struggle with it. There’s a new generation of players now, and they all walk around with a cell phone. You have a new customer: The Millennials. Their whole life is in their back pocket. They want everything right now.”

With each new generation, operators must learn how to adapt to their way of life. You can’t just sit around and complain about how they’re changing the way you have to work.

As Edward put it, you chose your profession and decided to get into this business. Just as how traditional TV packages have been challenged by cord-cutting digital streamers, it’s up to you to find a solution to help you stay relevant.

But you must avoid what Edwards calls the “Rocking Horse Approach”: This means you’re making a lot of motion and switching up the way you do business, but not going anywhere.

“Your company name is on the vehicle your chauffeurs get into every day,” he said. “Some of you have 10 or 20 of them. That’s great…but all it takes is one.” Only one person has to make a mistake, and the whole team will answer for it. This is why you must understand the importance of being a good leader.

Integrity: “Your words and life must match up. What you do in the dark comes to the light. When faced with conflicting thoughts and desires, you never compromise your integrity; it’s not an option.”

Legacy: “The power of your name and brand will allow you to make a difference today with tomorrow in mind.”

Lead The Pack

As the company owner, you have more information than anyone, and therefore the ability to make the right decisions for your organization. These decisions will reflect your ability to succeed.

Edwards compared the situation to watching a football game on TV. When you get excited and think the coach or referee made a bad call, you yell and scream at the screen. “Anyone not in your position always has the better solution,” he explained.

Perhaps the hardest thing about being a leader is having to turn your back to the crowd. You have to make some lonely decisions, but if you are confident they are ones that will lead your company to where you want it to be, you must stay strong.

You are a beacon of hope to the employees who work with you. “If you lose three games in a row, do you just stand around and say ‘you’re awful?’” Edwards asked. “It doesn’t matter where you’re at as a company; if you don’t provide hope, you can’t blame the player.”

Edwards talked about how hard it was to adapt to carrying a cell phone with him at all times.

Edwards talked about how hard it was to adapt to carrying a cell phone with him at all times.

What’s In A Name?

A plan that can’t be changed is a bad plan, Edwards said. “If there’s anything you better learn at this conference, it’s why you might have to change,” he told the audience. “I’m not talking about your principles; they are your foundation, your core — you don’t compromise your principles. But you can change how you do business.”

Attendees gathered much information on how to do this during the Show, but Edwards said if integrity and legacy are not the foundation of how you operate, then you’ve got a problem.

He told a story of how his father, a Master Sergeant, taught him these two lessons when he was eight years old. He gave Edwards a broom and told him to sweep the backyard. When he came out to check his work, he asked his son if he did a good job.

The Master Sergeant inspected his son’s work, and noticed he didn’t sweep the corners of the yard. Edwards responded, “Aw, dad! Nobody knows!” His father then told him, “That’s the integrity part; it matters. When you go out there, do something, and if it doesn’t get done right, your name’s on that. And it isn’t your name — it’s mine.”

Edwards concluded his speech by saying the most powerful possession anyone owns is their last name because it ends up being your legacy. That being said, how will your name go down in the history books? If thinking about that worries you, perhaps it’s time to embrace some changes.  

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Speaker Bio

Herm Edwards

Former NFL head coach (New York Jets ‘01-’05 and Kansas City Chiefs ‘06-’08) and player Herm Edwards joined ESPN in March 2009 as an NFL studio analyst. He appears primarily on NFL Live, SportsCenter, and ESPN Radio, while also contributing to ESPN’s coverage of Super Bowl week. Edwards co-authored the book, “You Play to Win the Game — Leadership Lessons for Success On and Off the Field” with ESPN’s Shelley Smith and is an engaging motivational speaker.

Source: Octagon Speakers

Related Topics: business ethics, customer service, ILCT 2017, keynote speakers, leadership

Lexi Tucker Senior Editor
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