Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was honored last night by the Texas Consilium with its inaugural Business Excellence Award at a ceremony in Frisco. The awards dinner was the opening night of the three-day Smart Manufacturing Summit.
From humble beginnings in Arkansas to building a business empire valued at more than $5 billion, Jones’ journey is full of lessons to be learned. In a fireside chat with longtime NBC sports anchor Scott Murray, Jones talked about purchasing a struggling NFL franchise in 1989 and transforming it into the iconic global sports brand it is today. (“I was told there are five things you need to know in sales. The first is ask for the money. I forgot the other four,” he quipped.)
His advice to millennials, too, was particularly poignant:
We just brought in our rookies—we drafted them last weekend—and I sit down with them, and I try to impress upon them hard work. They’re going to have to work if they’re going to amount to anything in the NFL. If they think someone is going to give them something just because of the way they look, they’re mistaken…. Everyone out there that they’re competing against is good.
I tell the rookies that just walked in the door that last year 75,000 young men played football in the United States. We just drafted about 400 of them. In about 18 months, there will only be about 150 left in the NFL out of 75,000 to give you an idea of how hard it is. I say to them, ‘Guys, you’ve got to understand that if you will take your God-given skills, if you take this opportunity, and if you will take everything your coaches want to give to you, you can change your life…. That opportunity is there for you.’
How do you have passion if you’re not 6’4″ and can’t run a 40 in 4.4? There are a million ways. Some of the most courageous and strongest men and women that I’ve ever met did it by having within themselves a challenge…. you absolutely can run as hard as Emmitt Smith ran the football…. it is there if you happen to get on your horse.