I was very fortunate (as a die-hard Patriots fan) to have attended Super Bowl LI in Houston. It was the most amazing game that I’ve ever seen.
I’m still a bit numb.
After spending most of the game feeling very melancholy and wondering why I had bothered to make the trip to Houston, the Patriots did the near-impossible. They came back to win after being behind by 25 points. At one point in the game, the Falcons had a 99.6% chance of winning!
Here’s my video from right after we won…
Now that it’s been a few days, I can reflect back on the Patriots victory. Here are some of my thoughts that I also think apply to customer experience and leadership:
- Every player counts. Throughout the Super Bowl, playoffs, and the regular season, different Patriots players made key plays. There are 53 people on an NFL roster and more than 60 people play for the team during a year (with injuries and roster shifts). While many people focus on Tom Brady, the Patriots won because of the performance of all 60+ players. This insight drives how the Patriot’s allot their cap-limited player salaries.
- Do your job. Throughout the season, the Patriots repeated a mantra: Do Your Job! While it’s always easy to focus on what other people might be doing, or the hype around big games, each player will best influence the outcome if they are physically and mentally prepared. In this environment, players are motivated to prepare and they have trust in their teammates.
- Focus on the next play. When the Patriots were down 28 to 3, it looked bleak. The players could have put their heads down and pouted about the previous plays, but they didn’t. They went back on the field and did their best on the next play. And then the next play, and the next, and the next. The team’s success was not based on a single play (although Edelman’s catch was amazing). Instead, it came from a large number of next plays.
- Leadership drives culture. Getting 60+ well-paid athletes to share a common vision, and operate in a consistent manner does not happen by accident. And it’s not practical to micro manage every player’s minute-by-minute activities. This type of alignment only comes from a strong culture, which has been modeled and nurtured by Bill Belichick and the rest of the coaching staff.
- Live events are special. I’m sure that every Patriots fan watching or listening to the Super Bowl went crazy when we won the game, but there’s something magical about being there in person. The energy that’s created during a live event cant be replicated on TV or radio. It was a truly emotional experience that I shared with 10’s of 1,000’s of my closest Patriots friends. I was also at Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix, and felt the same massive energy when we beat the Seahawks.
The bottom line: All I can say is… Go Pats!