CHICAGO -- Jimmy Haslam wants to develop a culture of winning with the Cleveland Browns.
After his purchase of a controlling interest in the Browns was approved by the NFL owners at the 2012 Fall Owners’ Meetings in Chicago on Tuesday, Haslam spoke with the media about the importance of getting the right people in place to establish that winning culture.
“I think culture in any organization is important, whether it’s your family or your school or a business or a team and we want to have the right culture at Cleveland,” Haslam said. “We want to establish a winning culture and the expectations are to win. Part of the problem (with) a young team that hasn’t won much is understanding how to win. That’s what was so pleasing about Sunday. Despite adversity, terrible wind, the best running back gets hurt, we hung in there tough and I think our guys grew up a little bit that day. Brandon (Weeden) twisted his foot or his ankle, came back and completed eight of nine passes after that. That’s part of being an NFL quarterback and I think that’s how you gain the respect of first of all, your teammates, and then, the fans.”
As the chief executive officer of Pilot Corporation from 1994-2012, Haslam helped the Pilot Travel Centers grow their annual sales of gallons of gas from 125 million to eight billion. Originally in seven states in the southeast, Pilot has extended its reach into 43 states, as well as six provinces in Canada.
When asked about what values he has developed as a successful businessman with Pilot Flying J, Haslam spoke to the importance of hard work.
“We’re going to work hard and I don’t know of anyone who is successful, whether they run a business, coach a team, run a non-profit or they’re a teacher that doesn’t work extremely hard,” Haslam said. “We’re going to work hard and everybody in the organization is going to work hard.”
Haslam also stressed the importance of focusing “on the right things” in order to develop the winning culture he was a part of with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I said this to our Pilot Flying J team -- we had a management meeting the other day -- it’s all about people,” Haslam said. “If you think about an NFL franchise, the only assets we have are some shoulder pads, some footballs and some weights. We don’t own the stadium, so we don’t own hard assets like Pilot Flying J. We don’t own truck stops or real estate or anything like that, so it’s all about the people. The franchises that win, and win consistently -- and that’s what we want to do -- have the best people. Whether that’s in the front office, the coaching staff or on the field, they have the best people, so there’s going to be a huge focus on getting the right people.
“We’ve just got to make sure we get the right people in there and that’s at everything, from who answers the phone to who plays quarterback. You want the right people on your team that believe in what you believe in.”