NASHVILLE, Tenn.—With the same vigor and wit he used to win the hearts of thousands of football fans, former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann challenged attendees at the International Tire and Rubber Association's World Expo to strive for success. ``How many of us want to be participants in life?'' Mr. Theismann bellowed to a crowd of approximately 600. ``Wouldn't you rather be champions?''
Mr. Theismann, a former Super Bowl champion and current ESPN color analyst, served as the keynote speaker during the ITRA's general session on June 11 in Nashville. He ranted, approached audience members and, in the end, threw autographed footballs to attendees.
The excitement that filled the air of the Opryland Hotel's grand ballroom prior to Mr. Theismann's speech was almost tangible. Two big-screen TVs on opposite ends of the stage showed wacky NFL plays of fumbles, dropped passes, quarterback sacks and stumbling players, while speakers blared high-energy songs, most notably ``Are You Ready For Some Football?'' the theme of ABC-TV's Monday Night Football.
It was against this backdrop of lightheartedness that Mr. Theismann entered with his own enthusiasm to inspire the crowd to become champions in business. The main points for his ``Game Plan for Success'' were clear: Success in business, much like football, comes from written goals, the right attitude, teamwork and motivation. ``You can't get by on what you know today alone; you must be an excited student,'' he said.
The son of a former service station owner, Mr. Theismann stressed the importance of trying different things in business. He gave examples from his football career, particularly when people accused him of being a failure after he substituted for an injured Redskins' punter and recorded the shortest punt in NFL history.
Despite that episode, Mr. Theismann said he chose to believe in himself. He encouraged attendees to look for good things to happen, but also to be willing to change.
``Are you doing the same thing today for your customers as you did before?'' Mr. Theismann asked the audience. ``Are any of you complacent?''
Praising the ITRA for its commitment to training technicians, Mr. Theismann said no dealer can survive without teamwork and gathering with other dealers to learn from one another.
``As principals of your businesses, it's easy to think of yourselves as being the most important person in your organization,'' he said. ``But think of yourself as the most dependent person, just like a quarterback is the most dependent person on a team.''
Mr. Theismann also emphasized the importance of good customer service in all areas of business: ``People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care,'' he said.