Longtime NFL coach Dick Vermeil addressed the Global Organic Produce Expo crowd about his principles for working with people. GOPEX is presented by The Packer and parent company Farm Journal. ( Ashley Nickle )

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Dick Vermeil received a standing ovation at the conclusion of his keynote presentation Jan. 26 at the Global Organic Produce Expo.

Wearing his Super Bowl ring, the longtime NFL coach delivered structure and stories in a talk about what he calls seven common-sense principles for working with people.

The guidelines might seem simple, but as Vermeil put it, “the flowers of common sense don’t grow in everybody’s garden.”

Several of the principles encouraged people to treat others around them well — show them you care, build relationships, be sincere.

In describing his third rule, Vermeil urged companies to create an atmosphere in which people enjoy going to work. He recommended three actions to motivate employees: recognize them, appreciate them, praise them. Criticism is sometimes necessary, but focusing only on the negative is unhealthy.

After tough games Vermeil would show the players the reel of mistakes and discuss corrections to make, but he would also review the positive plays. As the players bought into what they could do individually and as a team, the highlight reel got longer and the other reel shorter.

“Don’t ever underestimate the value of a good atmosphere,” Vermeil said.

The former coach and winemaker also challenged leaders to set strong examples.

“Your team will not be what you are not,” Vermeil said. “They will not outwork their opponent if you don’t outwork your opponent. They will not be emotional, passionate and grind and do all the tough things to win if you don’t.”

The former coach espoused working hard and also advocated having a clear purpose and a plan that can be clearly communicated to others in the company.

In addition, Vermeil noted that delegating is not a sign of weakness, a realization at which he arrived after his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles. He eventually left the team citing burnout before returning to the business and coaching the St. Louis Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs.

The keynote concluded with a question-and-answer session, and after it ended many people lined up for handshakes and photos with Vermeil.



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