LAS VEGAS (April 3, 2016) – When former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning walked on stage to speak at the NADA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas on April 3, thousands of attendees leapt to their feet to applaud the man who recently overcame incredible personal odds to lead the Denver Broncos to victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
But Manning’s speech that highlighted the importance of inspiring teamwork to gain victories proved that his understanding of business is equal to his skill as a top athlete.
Every business or profession has great leaders but they also have many leaders who are frauds,” said Manning, the NFL’s only five-time Most Valuable Player and a 14-time Pro Bowl selection. “Every business or profession has great leaders, but there are many leaders under construction, who are working toward becoming someone others will follow. No one starts out as leader, it doesn’t matter if you title is quarterback, mother or CEO.”
As the 40-year old Manning, son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and older brother of New York Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning, told the story of honing his athletic skills, he spoke candidly about his failures including his rookie year with the Indianapolis Colts when he threw a league-worst 28 interceptions. The team ended the season with a 3-13 record.
Manning said that after establishing that record, which he jokingly noted stands today, was when he realized he had to change his strategy.
"I didn’t [enter my rookie year expecting] to lose more games than I had in high school and college combined,” he said. “[Such setbacks] tests our skills, our hearts, and our wills to bounce back. Unless you do you will stagnate or worse.”
Manning went on to discuss how he honed his own skills but also became adept at recognizing his teammates’ strengths and weaknesses. Another key, though, was looking at his opposition in new ways.
"Leaders must assess the competitive landscape to help their businesses compete,” he said before cautioning the crowd not to confuse sight with vision. “If you do so, you run the risk of running right off the road.”
Manning had to again rethink his strategies when injuries resulting in four neck surgeries made it seem his career, certainly as a starter, might end.
"After the neck surgeries, I missed a season but I wanted to come back,” said Manning. “I had to slam the door on my old routines and set up new techniques. Under such trying circumstances [leaders must face] three of their biggest challenges: manage the new environment, communicate with key constituents and return to business as usual as quickly as possible. That challenges any leader’s meddle, I assure you.”
As Manning hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy above his head after leading his team to this year’s Super Bowl championship, he passed it down the line so each teammate could touch it.
"I certainly cannot escape the sting of [past failures]. But I will never forget holding the Lombardi trophy high above my head and handing that trophy down to my teammates on the field,” he said. “There’s something magical … each teammate putting their mark on that symbol of winning. Never underestimate the ‘power of the team’ made it possible. Thinking like a team raises everyone’s performance, but it has to start at the top.”
More than 25,000 new-car and -truck dealers and their managers, as well as dealers from over 30 countries, auto industry executives and exhibitor staff attended the 2016 NADA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas.
Founded in 1917, NADA will celebrate its 100-year anniversary during the 2017 NADA Convention & Expo in New Orleans, which will run from Jan. 26-29.
View the complete convention coverage