Tony McGee enjoyed an 11-year NFL career filled with successes. As a tight end mostly with the Cincinnati Bengals, he caught 322 passes for 4,089 yards and 21 touchdowns, retiring among the top-10 pass catchers in Bengals team history.
McGee has since transitioned to the business world, taking with him the life lessons that football taught. Now as president and CEO of HNM Global Logistics, a full-service freight forwarder that he founded, McGee recently spoke about the transition with SI.com and shared five of those lessons with Kathleen Elkins of BusinessInsider.com.
- Personnel is the most valuable asset. “Just like in any professional organization, it’s the people that matter,” McGee told Elkins. “When you look at how head coaches and general managers do it, they hire great assistants. That’s the foundation of building a great team.”
- The small stuff matters. “The little things really make a difference. In business, just as in sports, it could be a fraction, or a second, that could determine whether or not you’re successful.” Don’t underestimate the seemingly insignificant details.
- Own your role. “Understand your function within the organization. It’s my job to get every ounce of greatness out of each of our employees, and to do that, I have to put them in the right places. You may have a guy who’s a pretty good tight end, but he’s a great defensive end, so you have to look at your organization and understand where someone can be the most effective.”
- Prepare, prepare, prepare. A great leader puts his or her team in the best possible position to be successful. In sports, that means providing the best trainers and facilities, nutritious food and proper equipment. “I have to make sure our team has all the tools that they need to be successful,” McGee said. “If my team has nothing to worry about, they can go out and perform to the best of their ability.”
- Don’t get cocky. The greatest athletes and businessmen never take anything for granted. They continually look for ways to improve and opportunities to innovate. There is a danger in feeling satisfied, McGee said: “If you get complacent, you start losing.”
Photos courtesy HNM Global Logistics // Photo Credit