First and Goal to Go: 3 Leadership Lessons from the Super Bowl

In business, we experience big moments too. And if we’re not careful, those moments can become intimidating. How will you stay grounded when the going gets tough?


Get your playbook out (not the ServiceNow one!)— the Super Bowl is upon us! You might be an American football fan ready to dissect every play on the field, or on the opposite end of the spectrum and only watching the game because it’s all about the pre-game and half-time show.  

No matter your level of investment, the NFL’s premier event offers valuable insights for leading a successful team with a strategic focus. Here are three of its biggest lessons.  

Don’t let big moments overwhelm you

The Super Bowl is the most watched event in the United States. Last year’s matchup reached an estimated 167 million viewers, and the two weeks before kickoff are full of excitement, too. Several brands will release ads in the days leading up to the game, generating buzz even if they’re not an official sponsor.

With that many people watching — on live TV, streaming platforms, and in the stadium — players could easily let the moment overtake them. So, many athletes participate in activities throughout the season, such as yoga, meditation, and Pilates, to calm their nerves.

In business, we experience big moments too. And if we’re not careful, those moments can become intimidating. How will you stay grounded when the going gets tough? You might need to warm up before a major presentation or shift your mindset to take some pressure off.  

The key is remembering you have the knowledge and experience to ace these big moments. And if things don’t go smoothly, just focus on what to adjust in the future.

Learn from your failures

One of the keys to athlete success is having a short memory, as opposed to dwelling on the point of failure. A soccer player who misses a kick or blows a coverage assignment has to get back into the game quickly. A baseball player with a .300 average is considered a good hitter — meaning they fail in seven out of 10 tries.  

And in American football, a strategic sport, a team that makes a mistake must bounce back quickly. Players only have a few seconds after one play ends and the next begins.

During Super Bowl LVI last year, the Los Angeles Rams gave up 17 unanswered points to the Cincinnati Bengals, turning a 10-point lead into a seven-point deficit. That span included a botched extra point attempt and two interceptions from Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, all of which took away scoring opportunities.

But the Rams didn’t panic. Instead, they reviewed their mistakes offensively, tightened up defensively, scored the game’s final 10 points — and took home the championship.  

Another example (my oldest son’s favorite example and favorite QB): Peyton Manning, one of the all-time greats, was the losing quarterback in one of the most lopsided defeats in NFL history. Despite setting several offensive records during the year, his Denver Broncos lost 43-8 during Super Bowl XLVIII, the third-worst blowout the Super Bowl has ever seen.

Manning and the Broncos didn’t let the national embarrassment get them down. They retooled, looked at what worked and didn’t throughout the season, and won the Super Bowl two years later. It was Manning’s second championship and proved to be his final game, as he retired the following month.

None of us will be perfect at our jobs 100% of the time. The strongest leaders create an environment where people are encouraged to make mistakes. Rather than wallowing in those mistakes, employees can learn from them and then help others who might experience similar challenges.

I call it fail forward. I encourage my team to reflect on lessons learned and support them by applying their focus on results, not effort.  We aim to celebrate mistakes within NewRocket since that offers a learning opportunity for employees. Our teams embrace getting out of their comfort zones and trying new projects. Making mistakes is a part of professional development and self-mastery — without them, it’s hard to grow successfully.  

Seek other perspectives as you plan your strategy

Typically, an NFL team plays one game every week. But the Super Bowl gives us two weeks between the conference championships and the battle for the league title. That means twice as much time to prepare.

During that time, a team examines every facet of itself and its opponent. Inspiration can come from anyone — a quarterback’s coach, a lineman or even fans sharing unique stories of how much it means their team made it to the big game.

People in your organization have their areas of expertise, too, so don’t be afraid to lean on them. They see things in their daily activities that might not be visible but can offer unique insight into how to help the company.

At NewRocket, we have coffee chats, 1-on-1 meetings, and rockstar recognition programs to highlight people doing good work. I’ve personally started the SHEngineers Employee Resource Group and offer team boosts where I share announcements and program updates. During that time, employees can tell me about unique solutions they’ve built or offer the latest on a go-live update.    

Check in with your teams regularly. Consider ongoing events like office hours or town halls, where people can share what’s on their minds in a low-pressure, welcoming environment.  

After the clock hits zero and confetti rains down from the sky, we’ll all have learned lessons we can take back to our organizations. I can’t wait for kickoff!

Teresa is a purpose-driven servant leader with over 20 years of experience transforming organizations, projects, and teams. Follow her on LinkedIn.

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First and Goal to Go: 3 Leadership Lessons from the Super Bowl

In business, we experience big moments too. And if we’re not careful, those moments can become intimidating. How will you stay grounded when the going gets tough?

Knowledge Wrap Video

The event provided a vibrant platform for reconnecting with peers, delving into AI transformation, and driving innovation with purpose. Read on to discover how NewRocket made its mark at Knowledge 2024.

What We Learned

From recent insights gathered, we learned that ServiceNow customers are increasingly receptive to adopting AI solutions and ServiceNow has the tools to embrace that head on. However, there's a gap in AI use-cases for more mature users, highlighting the need for a creative approach to accommodate their business needs.

In navigating AI adoption, organizations are challenged to find the delicate balance between embracing innovation and avoiding dependency on emerging technologies. Advisory consulting and trusted guidance beyond initial queries spark interest, particularly around AI's impact on operations. Read our AI blog series to learn more about our approach.

Excitement around GenAI is apparent, with most users eager to explore its potential benefits and invest in quick wins. Notably, advanced use cases like process mining are gaining traction. Key solution themes include interest in native mobile applications, Employee Center migration, and the urgent need for enhanced data capabilities.

Recognitions and Awards

ServiceNow Americas Employee Workflow Partner of the Year

The ServiceNow Americas Employee Workflow Partner of the Year award celebrates Partners' exceptional efforts in enhancing employee experiences through innovative collaborations and technology solutions. Learn More.

UK Public Sector Partner of the Year Award

The ServiceNow UK Public Sector Partner of the Year underscores  Partners' dedication to driving digital transformation and delivering exceptional outcomes for public sector organizations in the UK. Partnership for Good Grant

The Partnership for Good Grant highlights Partners' commitment to leveraging technology for social impact and driving positive change in communities around the world. Learn More.

Top 10 Finalist for ServiceNow Best Employee Portal of the Year

ServiceNow's Best Employee Portal of the Year award recognizing Partners' dedication to creating innovative solutions that empower employees and enhance workplace experiences. Learn More.

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At ServiceNow's Knowledge 24 event, we connected with 350+ attendees at our booth, showcasing how NewRocket supports organizations on their ServiceNow journey. AI emerged as a key topic, reflecting the growing interest in its potential across businesses. Our strategic advisory approach, FlightPath, aligns technology with business objectives, drawing on our expertise in customer, employee, technology, and security transformation. Plus, we captivated attendees by transforming them into astronauts using AI. See the photo booth results here!

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Participating in ServiceNow's Knowledge sessions and workshops this year was truly enriching. Interacting with customers and partners provided invaluable insights into the future state of ServiceNow and allowed us to have in-depth discussions on how we can collectively offer better experiences across various facets of the platform. From exploring advanced AI integrations to optimizing workflow processes, the conversations were not only enlightening but also inspiring, fueling our commitment to innovation and excellence in the ServiceNow ecosystem. We can't wait to see you next year!

NewRocket Party

Our poolside event at the Capri restaurant in Las Vegas provided a refreshing break from the conference hustle, allowing us to unwind and connect with friends, colleagues, partners, and customers in the cool open air. As the night progressed, we loved creating unforgettable memories and strengthening our bonds within the ServiceNow community.