Emmitt Smith closes the AME conference with manufacturing excellence techniques

Friday, December 16, 2016

 AME Author, Chairman-Target Editorial Board

Emmitt Smith made an impassioned statement when he recounted his life from age seven until now. He hit the mark when he made several points that we all know, but when it come from a celebrity it can make a difference.

Have a goal:  At age seven he decided he wanted to play football in the NFL.  In high school he became the 2nd leading rusher in America. In college at the University of Florida he led the Gators over Alabama twice.

It’s a team effort: Even with the NFL all-time rushing leader the spotlight needs to be shared with others that helped you gain all those yards!

Communication: Everyone has to be on the same page in the playbook.

Achieve purpose-driven excellence: Use your goal to focus on excellence in all that you do. Stay focused and adapt to speed bumps along the way.

As Emmitt talked about his season three “Dancing with the Stars” championship he reminisced that he was asked to compete in season one and two but had declined. When season three came around he felt that with his wife’s approval he was ready to go for it and she agreed. So he and his partner dug in (Cheryl Burke, as a professional, had won the year before). They practiced continually for their very short skits. But when Jerry Springer, the ex-Mayor of Cincinnati, moved ahead of him in the competition, he and Cheryl doubled their practice times! The Finale drew 27.8 million viewers.

Mentoring: After his football career was over and he was considering going into business he had a pretty good mentor also- Roger Staubach, who had become very successful in the real estate business spent a lot of time with Emmitt to show him the ropes!

It’s all about the “Process”: Several times during his talk he emphasized with sidesteps, that it’s all about the process…process…process! This was as close as he got to dance steps.

The full house crowd gave him a standing ovation and rushed the stage to take selfies.


These are the same techniques that we as manufacturing leaders try to use in our day to day activities. I think we are on the same page in the playbook.