Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Everyday Lessons from Belichick Leadership Rules

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New England Patriots' Coach Bill Belichick
Lesson 1:  There is no detail that is too small to pay attention to.  
Belichick's coaches analyze every movement of every player of their next opponent.  You often hear him, after a game, when the press wants to question him about the game, saying "I'm only interested in next week.  This week is over."  His only concern is how to beat the next team he plays.  And to that end, he has his coaches looking at the opponent's tapes and noting every detail of the opponent's play design.  His coaches look at everything--even watching how the opposing quarterback moves his hands or his head prior to a play or how the left guard pulls on a pass play, or how the free safety moves on an end run.  In our lives, we tend to ignore the little things.  In Belichick's world, it's all about the little things.
Lesson 2:  A "mediocre" player is a poorly coached player.
Belichick puts the blame for mediocrity right where it belongs: poor coaching.  He is often quoted as saying: "Give me someone who wants to work hard, and I'll turn him into a superior player."   We often tend to take the easy way and blame the student or the employee for failure, when the blame has to be put where it belongs--on poor leadership, bad coaching, unclear direction.  Belichick's lesson for us is "don't blame the player for a bad performance, blame the coach".
Lesson 3: Take responsibility for bad outcomes.
After a game that's been lost, or poorly played, Belichick never blames the players.  He blames himself for not preparing the players properly or for not giving proper instruction to the coaches.  It's very easy to blame everyone but yourself for a failure.  Failure on the bottom starts with poor leadership at the top.  When you fail, figure out what you did wrong and fix it.
Lesson 4: Never give up--never.
Belichick says this over and over again in interviews: never give up.  Winston Churchill was the originator of this phrase: "It's never over till it's over.  Never give up, never." In the 2017 Superbowl, the Falcons were winning 28 to 9 going into the 4th quarter.  The Patriots scored 19 unanswered points in 4th quarter to tie the game and cause the first overtime in Superbowl history.  
The Apollo 13 crew mission motto was "Failure is not an option". 
We can all take a lesson from this.  Hard work and commitment are the keys to winning in the long run.  And losses are only short term setbacks.

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