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Former Linebacker Dhani Jones on Becoming an Entrepreneur

Photo: Courtesy of Dhani Jones

Dhani Jones is a businessman, former NFL linebacker and television host of “Dhani Tackles the Globe” and “Adventure Capitalists.”

What lessons from your football career were able to transcend into your entrepreneurial endeavors?

Playing football is a like running a startup. The moment you walk on the field, you are investing in yourself. Your family is like the seed capital that gets you to the NFL, which is a big exit opportunity. Then you become a publicly traded company.

In your opinion, what are some common qualities among teams (both on and off the field) that perform well and are successful in their end goals?

The most common quality is that successful teams have a shared vision. People always say if there is no vision, there is no company.

What role does collaboration and communication play in business success?

Collaboration is how you work with one another. Communication is what you say to one another and what you say to those whom you are serving. All aspects are critical to growing a business and ensuring its success.  

Being a middle linebacker meant that I had the opportunity to lead the defense. The only way to lead is to communicate effectively and clearly so that everyone is on the same page. Not everyone speaks the same “language,” but as the leader, you have to be able to both speak multiple languages as well as translate. It also signified a responsibility to know what each and every person was doing on the field. As I collaborate in business, I still see the big picture and rely upon my teammates to do their job as they would on the field.   

What are some common obstacles that most often prevent teams from reaching their end goals?

Common obstacles are not being on the same page, not aligning on vision and not speaking the same language. It’s also important for people to know their job and to do it well. A linebacker should allow a kicker to do their job.

How have you been able to utilize technology to more proactively communicate as well as collaborate with team members in the business world?

You have to prioritize finding the right technology for you. There are so many platforms that can help but you have to make sure it’s the one that fits your personality and need. Texting is by far the best way to communicate and you should email only when it’s absolutely needed — but don’t forget about using the phone or the occasional in-person discussion.

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