The Container Store

Leaders We Love: Tom Landry

  • Sep 19, 2013
  • Rick W., General Manager, Dallas Northwest Hwy
Leaders We Love: Tom Landry

*This is part of our “Leaders We Love” series. Learn more about it.

There are many great leaders that have made a name with their business success, but my inspiration comes from a professional football coach – Tom Landry, the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys from 1960-1988.

In 1960 the Dallas Cowboys were a new team to the NFL and Tom Landry was their first coach. Coach Landry uniquely identified athletes that could be a differentiator for his team. Bob Hayes was a good example. Bob Hayes won the gold medal and broke the World Record at the 1964 Summer Olympics in the 100 meter dash. Landry developed Hayes into one of the best wide receivers of his day, and because he was so fast, opposing teams needed to create what is now the zone defense. Landry also was patient in waiting to draft Roger Staubach, knowing that he first must satisfy his four-year commitment to the Navy before playing quarterback for the Cowboys.

Tom Landry was an innovator. He created the 4-3 defense that is still used today by most NFL teams. He was the head coach of America’s Team, and he was such a great role model for the country. His professionalism on and off the field was beyond reproach. Landry’s 20 consecutive winning seasons is untouchable, he has the third most wins of all time, and his 20 playoff wins are the most by any coach in history.

Tom Landry has shown me how I can support the success of my entire team through my own leadership. Landry was not interested in the success of the team. He practiced consistency by encouraging his team to always perform the fundamentals of football flawlessly.

There are several quotes of Tom’s that I reference regularly in my role as General Manager at The Container Store:

  • “If you are prepared, you will be confident, and will do the job.”
  • “Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you’re in control, they’re in control.”
  • “First become a winner in life. Then it is easier to become a winner on the field.”

If you’d like to read more about Tom Landry’s incredible life, career and leadership style, check out the book Giants: What I learned about life from Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry.

Rick W., General Manager, Dallas Northwest Hwy Store