HUNTERSVILLE – Joe Gibbs made a surprise visit to the Sticky Teams leadership conference, which was attended by more than 450 people May 6 at Lake Forest Church.

Gibbs had just gotten back in town after his #11 car, driven by Denny Hamlin, won at Talladega two days before.


Racing as a team sport

Pastor Chris Brown, from the San Diego megachurch North Coast, interviewed the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and owner of Joe Gibbs Racing.

Brown told Gibbs that he was more of a football fan than a NASCAR fan.

"Racing is just like football," replied Gibbs. "Anybody good in football would be good in racing because it’s a team sport. Anyone who wants to go visit the race shop – we’ve got 450 people over there. It’s really a team.”


Motivating teams

When asked about motivating teams, Gibbs said, “I feel like most of us come into the world very competitive.  When you try and get competitive individuals, put them on a team, then ask them to sacrifice their individual goals for the goals of the team, that’s hard.”

A good leader, Gibbs believes, whether leader of a sports team or a church, must help all team members understand how important they are to the success of the team.

“If you go in Joe Gibbs Racing the first person you meet is Page (who is a receptionist)," Gibbs said. "I tell Page, ‘Page, you’re one of the most important people in the building. One half of the people that come in that front door will never talk to anybody on the upper floor. Their impression of Joe Gibbs Racing is going to be how you’ve treated them.”


Handling success

Brown asked Gibbs about handling so much success, and Gibbs said: “The world tells us, ‘Hey, the way to be successful is make money, gain position, and in my case, win football games, win races.’ Man, you start charging through life. For me, a big part of my testimony is you go 10, 20 years and all of a sudden, you go, ‘I missed the most important thing in my life: my kids.”

“I took both of my boys out two years ago,” he continued, “and I said to them, ‘Look, I’ve really got to apologize to you. I mean, I slept at the office and things like that. I really want to tell you, ‘Don’t do that with your kids.’”

Gibbs talks about his successes and failures in his book “Game Plan for Life,” published in 2011. In the book, he weaves his own story among 11 topics that men most often ask about, including relationships, finances, vocation, and addiction, and he lets experts and Bible scholars give the answers.

Pat, Gibbs' wife of 48 years, has helped him stay grounded. Gibbs told about the morning after a huge Redskins’ win. The newspapers were gushing with his praises, but instead of extolling his eminence, Pat said, “Pick up your bathrobe and socks.”