SCR: Considering you've been so successful in your life, is there a core set of values you have that you turn back to? Something that you consider the essence of Joe Gibbs, that you can apply to football, to racing, and now to your performance business?Gibbs: In my case, with the three things that I've been involved in, I've found that being able to talk to people is very important. You've got to understand what makes them tick, and picking people is critical. It starts with character, which I think is very important. So all those principles are kind of what I believe in. In a part of the book I wrote (Racing to Win) I talk about the key areas in life. That's occupation, relationships, and health issues. I think they are all really important. Team building is huge, and so I try to take all those issues and relate them back to what I think is important. God kind of gives us a game plan here in this world, and if we follow that game plan in those areas, to me, that's what leads to success.
SCR: In essence, leadership is probably your strongest asset.Gibbs: Well, I think it's the people skills. There are a lot of things. Going into specifics, it's being able to talk to a team, communicate with team members. You've got to be a good teacher. It's all the things that you're trying to use and how you pick people. If you go back into a person's history and start talking to people they had contact with 10 years ago, then you develop a profile over a 10-year period. It's not just where they graduated from and how they tested, but actually going into their background. Chances are most people grow up and become successful in life in about a period of 10 years. You see in their past a history of accomplishing and doing well and being the right kind of person and being an achiever.
SCR: You have a very strong faith, and I wouldn't say the football world is known for, at least overtly, being faith-based. In particular, I think there is a newer generation of football player. I'll generalize, but they're known as selfish, self-centered, and maybe self-referential.Gibbs: In the past, some people have asked how I deal with those guys. They make a lot of money, have huge egos, etc. But truly, that wasn't my experience. We had tremendous team spirit; we had guys looking out for the team, guys who would sacrifice for the team. Yeah, there was a business side of it, but once they crossed those lines, I found the really great players are just like the really great drivers, in that they're not thinking about how much money they're making today. Instead, they're thinking how they want to win this race, and I found the really great players are not focused on money, but rather on how they want to try to win the game. So I've found (the negative reputations of pro athletes) are greatly overstated. Great players in football and great crewmen and drivers and everyone in racing are not focused on that. They want to really and truly be great. They want the ball; they want to make the play to win. Drivers say, 'give me the stuff to win.' It's more along those lines instead of self-centeredness or being worried about themselves.
SCR: Here you are at this point in life, with three Super Bowl titles and two Winston Cups titles. Obviously you are a goal setter, so what's the goal? What do you set in front of you now?Gibbs: With each one of those Super Bowl wins or the NASCAR championships, I would hear people ask what I get a kick out of. It's a different group of people on almost every single level that went with you to climb that particular mountain. Obviously it was Bobby Labonte and that whole group; then there was Tony Stewart and the Home Depot group; and certainly with the football team, it was '82, '87, and '91, so that was with a different group of characters and trying to see them accomplish this goal. Certainly it's always something totally different to strive for, too.
SCR: So, a Super Bowl is in the cards then?Gibbs: No, it's not in the cards. That's what's exciting about it.
This is probably 90-95 percent high risk, and you're probably not going to get what you want. So I'm very wide open on something. Everybody wants to win a championship, but it took us nine years to win the first one in motorsports. So is that the dream? Yeah, it's a dream, but we all know most of the time our dreams never come true.
SCR: How are the sponsors of Joe Gibbs Racing taking this?Gibbs: We've had lengthy talks with the sponsors and have been in constant contact with them. I think they look at the upside, too. Basically, what are the things that I can bring to the table that weren't there originally? So we're hoping that some of the things that we get to do to cover this will actually enhance the benefit to the sponsors. And like I said, we have the management team and everything in place, and I think the sponsors have great confidence in our group.
SCR: Having you around has to be a motivating factor to your race team, but now you won't be around as much. How are you going to satisfy that need with your race team? Will you be making regular trips back?Gibbs: The 200 people here know me, and they know what the race team means to me. I think that's a big part of it. I think I've explained to them in detail how I envision this helping. For instance, their jobs and the number one thing that they want me to do is keep the money coming in and keep the sponsors in place. Otherwise, they won't have a job. So that's first. They could give a flip about me walking around here talking. They simply want to have a job. And so I think they understand all that. They know and they kind of trust me, and I think they look at what I do best for them. A lot of them joke about me being at the racetrack because I don't do anything there anyway, except provide moral support. So I think they understand the ins and outs of the racing thing, and our racing family here is pretty tight.
SCR: What do you think of the changes NASCAR made to the points system?Gibbs: I think that's going to be a radical deal for us. It's going to take a lot of different strategies. I think it's a huge change. We have some concerns about part of it, but we also know that NASCAR has done a very good job of directing the sport to where it is today. We've got to thank the France family for the leadership, because they've been terrific. I think that if they think this is best for the sport, then of course, we're on board.