In 1986, Lombardi Jr. decided to relay his experiences along with his father's leadership lessons as a professional speaker. Since then he has authored four books on leadership and self-motivation. Lombardi Jr. will be in Green Bay on Aug. 20 along with Bart Starr, Willie Davis, Max McGee, Bobby Knight and others for the first-ever Vince Lombardi Titletown Legends Leadership Conference. The conference will address the Lombardi leadership principles and how they apply to business leaders and individuals.
Lombardi Jr. has spoken to business groups up to 100 times per year since the mid-1980s. He tries to reinforce leadership principles and inspire people, but he will be the first to tell you that he is not a motivational speaker.
"When people ask me, 'What do you do?' I say I'm a speaker," said Lombardi Jr. "They say, 'Oh, a motivational speaker?' I say, 'Yes, but I can't motivate anybody. Only you can motivate you.' I hope to give (people attending the conference) some good information with a little inspiration thrown in, maybe so that you'll be moved one way or the other. Maybe create a little dissidence within you, maybe create a little unhappiness in terms of where you are and where you think you ought to be so that you'll do something with what I give you or what some other folks give you.
"In my part, I want to hold up a mirror for people to examine themselves as individuals and as leaders. To examine the goals that they have – the depth and the breadth, the clearness, the vividness and the precision of their goals, and then to examine the commitment that they bring to accomplish those goals and understanding the essence of motivation and how they can motivate themselves to take themselves to the next level."
Lombardi Jr. learned a few things about leadership from his father, but he has learned from others along the way. As a speaker, he tries to light a fire under people who are willing to do what it takes to be a leader.
"When we're young, we all look around and compare ourselves to others to see how we're doing," Lombardi Jr. said. "I looked at my dad and gee-whiz, 'I don't even come close,' as it would have been for anybody to compare themselves to my dad. I didn't know any better, simply because I wanted to get there. I didn't set out to be a motivational speaker. I set out to make myself better than what I was. So, my whole life has been a mission for me to understand what high performance people do and how do they do it. I've been lucky with some of the things that my hand has been turned to and some of the things that I've been exposed to to kind of create a process that works for me. Hopefully I can impart some of that to other folks.
"I want to be able to help people paint their own picture of excellence, and move toward it on a want-to, choose-to, like-it, love-it basis rather than a have-to."