Aikman talked about his professional career, both in sports and as a broadcaster, using his 12 years as the Cowboys' quarterback to dispense universal nuggets of wisdom. Though he was a number-one draft pick, Aikman's rookie year wasn't a success. The team only won one of 15 games, and Aikman pointed out that the Cowboys' single victory wasn't one that involved his efforts. Though the string of early losses left Aikman dejected, they also served him well once his team began to succeed. "I never forgot how hard it is to win," he said. Aikman also noted that he was drafted to win championships, not just to play. "I never doubted that it would happen," he added.
When it comes to the business of winning, Aikman believes a sports team, just like any other organization, needs a strong chain of command. "If you circumvent that, it's a recipe for disaster," he said. Aikman shared stories of the tough, but fair leadership of former Dallas head coach Jimmy Johnson, who would tell his quarterback: "You don't coach a player to what he is, you coach him to what you want him to be." Aikman, too, expected his teammates to know their roles and treat professional football like the job it is. "People get fired for not knowing their assignments in the real world," he said. "My job as quarterback was to do whatever it takes to win."
For Aikman, the key to success and professional satisfaction has been collaboration, and he was quick to point out that his many wins were a team effort, not an individual achievement. It's a philosophy that works as well on the football field as it has off, in the various business ventures Aikman has been part of over the years. "My life has really been based on being around really successful people," he said. "I've always bet on smart people, and I've never been wrong."
Counselor caught up with Aikman at ASI Dallas this morning to learn more about his formula for success. Click here to see the interview.