SPORTS BROMIDES BUBBLE UP IN MOST BUSIness conversations. But it takes an old pro like former Dallas Cowboy Drew Pearson to dedicate his entire business philosophy to a sports paradigm.
“Our pattern has been pretty much the pattern of the Dallas Cowboys,” says the onetime wide receiver turned retail success story.
“The biggest thing I learned was the importance of team building, going out and getting the greatest talent for each area of the business. “
The Drew Pearson Companies, which grossed $40 million in 1996, make and market headgear featuring logos licensed by professional and college teams, as well as The Disney Company.
Pearson calls the Cowboys’ “Big Three”- Tex Schramm, Gil Brandt, and Tom Landry- his organizational models. “They were each exemplary at what they were doing,” he explains. “Tex-the CEO, so to speak-ran the business. Gil was regarded as the foremost in the business as far as selecting talent. Coach Landry was one of the best at implementing his philosophies and making them work. 1 learned something from all of them.”
Schramm, he says, taught him the fundamentals of marketing.
“Schramm made the fans feel like they were customers, like they were a part of the process.”
Pearson believes he accomplishes something similar by holding frequent autograph sessions.
“It keeps the name Drew Pearson out there among the fans. I gel to tell those people not only about the Hail Mary catch [the last-second, game-winning touchdown pass from Roger Staubach to Pearson in the 1975 playoffs against Minnesota], but also about Drew Pearson headwear.”
He also tries to emulate Gil Brandt’s eye for talent.
“Brandt didn’t always go with people who had the best stats but would bring in people who he felt brought more to the game than athletic ability.”
From Tom Landry came a faith in hard work and discipline.
“Coach Landry knew he was creating mental toughness. That strength works in the business world, too. Say a salesperson feels there are certain accounts he can’t crack, instead of just switching him, or saying ’Don’t worry about it,’ you keep motivating him; he continues to go into those accounts to try to get the business.”
The proof that the old Cowboys’ philosophy worked, says Pearson, was the team’s great record of success under that regime, plus his success and that of others who’ve borrowed the Big Three’s business map.
’The Cowboys’ business philosophies rubbed off on more people than me. Roger Staubach, Pettis Norman, Chuck Howley, Preston Pearson, Calvin Hill, and Tony Hill are all successful. It’s a success-breeds-success scenario, if you’re smart enough to grasp what they’re doing.”