Three things I learned about Leadership from Roger Staubach

"In any team sport, the best teams have consistency and chemistry." -Roger Staubach
Written by Frank Guftafson on Aug 16, 2018
Three things I learned about Leadership from Roger Staubach

This past week I checked something off of my bucket list! I shook hands with Roger Staubach.

This was cool but I got way more than I ever expected from this meeting!

I attended the Dallas Business Journal, entrepreneurs Connect event. Mr Staubach wasthe closing keynote speaker. Let me give you some background, and then I will give you some tidbits from his speech.

If you have never heard of Roger Staubach before... Dude! Where have you been? Roger played for NAVY and won the Heisman Trophy in 1963. Then spent 4 years serving our country, including a tour in Vietnam. Roger went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys for 11 years. He retired in 1980 with the second highest passer rating of all time (83.4).

During his tenure with the Cowboys, they went to the playoffs every year but one, and they appeared in the Super Bowl five times. They won the world championship twice. He was voted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1985. In 1999, Staubach was ranked #29 on The Sporting News list of the top 100 Greatest Football Players.

I grew up in Dallas during the 70's idolizing Roger Staubach for his prowess on the football field. My respect for him continued throughout the years because of the citizen, business person and leader he is, off the field.

Before Roger retired from football he started a commercial real estate company. Back in the day, a football player didn't make the kind of money they do today, so he worked in real estate in the off season for most of his career.

In 2008 he sold The Staubach Company for $613 Million to Jones Lang Lasalle. Today he serves as the company's executive chairman.

This was a huge payday, but not just for Roger. He had given equity to the employees who had helped him grow his company. In the end, Staubach owned 12% of the business. Many of his employees benefited from the sale. And from his proceeds, he put half in a trust for his children.

Staubach married his high school sweetheart in 1965. They have a son and four daughters, 15 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.

What I learned from Roger

1. "Adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it" - Roger Staubach

I'm not sure that I have now or have ever revealed any genius, but I can tell you that I have had adversity in my business.

Adversity causes you to pause, think and plan. When faced with challenges as a leader, you must figure out a way to overcome. You must determine a path through, over, under or around this adversity.

In times of prosperity it is so easy to just smile and chug along. There is nothing wrong with that... on the surface. As a leader, you must always have a plan for navigating adversity. Adversity will come!

2. "Have the right people in the right places, working together" - Roger Staubach

Over the years Staubach carefully built his company. Hiring the right people and letting go of the wrong ones. Putting people in areas where they could excel and empowering them to do so.

Right Team

Having the right people is so important. In "Developing the Leaders Around You", John Maxwell says "Hire slowly and fire fast". I quote from Maxwell...

One of the rules for good hiring is this: Hire slowly and fire fast. The best time to fire a person is the first time it crosses your mind. If you have made a poor selection decision, don't compound the decision by keeping the wrong person in place. Have the courage and common sense to admit that you have made a mistake; then correct the mistake and get on with business.

Right Places

We all have certain talents, skills and abilities. Do you know yours? Do you know your team's?

I love the work of the Gallup organization in this area. StrengthsFinders is a great tool for determining natural, God-given talents and strengths.

Marcus Buckingham wrote an amazing book called "Now Discover Your Strengths". Tom Rath followed it with "StrengthFinders 2.o".

If you're not familiar with StrengthFinders... check it out!

Working together

Roger Staubach was a great quarterback. But he would have NEVER made it to the Super Bowl without the right team, in the right places, working together.

In Maxwell's "21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership"... The Law of Empowerment states; "Only secure leaders give power to others"

Accomplishing any mission as a team requires team-work. Working together as a team means ALL team members working in alignment with the mission of the leader.

As the leader, the mission is your responsibility and you can not delegate it. But, you can delegate authority. Give your team what it needs to win.

3. "It takes a lot of un-spectacular preparation, to get spectacular results" - Roger Staubach

Certainly no stranger to un-spectacular preparation (football practice), Staubach produced results both on and off the field.

Preparation; this is where the rubber meets the road.

How do you prepare for the results you want or better yet, the results you EXPECT?

What have you done TODAY to get you where you want to be TOMORROW?

"Success depends on previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure." - Confucius

I read a lot about leadership, entrepreneurship, business start-up, platform building, writing (being an author).

I repair and practice my speaking by attending Toastmasters. I invested in a great conference called SCORRE to improve my communication skills. I get around other speakers every time I get an opportunity to do so.

I'm involved in several leadership masterminds. I have invested in certifications.

These things, many of them un-spectacular as they may have been, have prepared me for where I will be tomorrow.

What are you doing to prepare yourself to reach your goals?

There's a Chinese proverb that says "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now."

Meet Roger Staubach - Check!

Checking something off of my bucket list was cool. I never thought it would be possible to meet Roger Staubach in person. Well I did!

Talking to him and shaking his hand was a dream come true, but having the privilege to learn from him was the icing on the cake!


Photo courtesy of author