March 1, 2009
My Visit with Vince Lombardi

My Visit with Vince Lombardi

A while back we made a Case Study video for Excellent Cultures. The Case Study was about their success story at the Delphi Steering Plant 6 in Saginaw Michigan. Here is a clip from that case study video:

Now Steve Gandara from Excellent Cultures asked me to go with him to Green Bay, Wisconsin to interview several people at the Schneider National headquarters. These interviews are for a new Case Study video for Excellent Cultures.




Ever since I was a little kid, I loved Vince Lombardi and all the giant heroes from Green Bay. I loved the story of Titletown, USA and how Vince Lombardi took the team of losers and turned them into a dynasty of world champions.

I jumped at the chance to go to Green Bay.

My dad used to show me a video he had of Vince Lombardi called "Second Effort." In that video Vince Lombardi talked about his philosophies on Excellence and Second Efforts and Lombardi Time. He talked about if you were ten minutes early you were actually five minutes late on "Lombardi Time." I have been on Lombardi Time for about thirty years now. My wife and kids have all converted to Lombardi Time. In my mind, Lombardi and Teddy Roosevelt were just about the best heroes a guy could ever have.

As the plane flew into town, I could see the giant stadium from the window.

After checking into our hotel, Steve and I drove over to Lambeau Field to eat dinner at Curly's Pub. It was awesome to enter the stadium. Out front was a giant statue of Vince Lombardi.

We had a great day of interviews with the Schneider leadership team talking about the success of the Excellent Cultures program in helping Schneider break all sales and efficiency records. It was very inspiring to me to see people so confident and enthusiastic in today's negative world. After dropping off Steve at the airport, I drove back to Lambeau Field to catch the last couple of hours at the Packer Hall of Fame. I had heard of the large dedications and rooms directed at the Legacy of Vince Lombardi.

I really enjoyed my time at the Hall of Fame. It brought back a lot of memories of my childhood fascination with the Packers and the early heroes of the NFL. It also reminded me of my interviews with sports legend Jim Zorn. Years ago after Jim was cut from the Seattle Seahawks he had spent some time at Green Bay. I remember his remarks about how impressed he was with the incredible legacy of success with the Packers. It was ironic that Coach Mike Holmgren is still so connected with both the Packers and the Seahawks. There seemed to me to be parallels between Holmgren and Lombardi.

The next morning I went to the Green Bay airport to catch the early flight. The news had told everyone that a big snow storm was headed our way, supposed to hit around 3 or 4pm. I stopped by the gift shop to pick up some cheeseheads for my daughter and some clients. We all boarded the Noon plane, glad to be getting out before the storm. As we made it out to the tarmac I thought about the happy memories of the nice folks over at Schneider National. People in small towns seem so nice to me.

Then as the plane was headed down the tarmac, the pilot said that they were told that Chicago had shut down and that we were going to have to wait for a while. After about an hour the pilot said that we were going back in to get more fuel. Then after about another hour we were told to de-plane. Then we waited for about three more hours. I could see out the window as a slowly moving giant white blanket of snow was heading right at us down the western runway. After a long time, we were told to re-board. Then we started out onto the tarmac, and the pilot again said, no we are going back in. By then the airport was socked in with about a foot of snow. I took a shuttle back to the hotel. The shuttle driver had a real hard time seeing in the blizzard.

Everyone in Green Bay was nice to me.

This all reminded me of the famous Ice Bowl Championship game from my childhood. I remembered so many games on TV with the Packers playing in the snow and the giant crowds supporting them in the storm.
Finally after another day of waiting, I made it back in the air, going through Minneapolis this time, and ended back in Seattle about Midnight.

Overall even thought I was stuck in a blizzard, I really enjoyed my trip to Green Bay, Wisconsin. When I was a little kid I had written down a hundred goals of what I wanted to do in my life. One of these goals was to go to Paris, and another was to go to Green Bay. Well, I can check off the one for Green Bay now. Next on my list is Paris. I hope I can get a project that will let me go to Paris this year.

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