Bill Belichick

Supported by Greenhaven Road Capital, finding value off the beaten path.

Notes from the May 2017 podcast between Bill Belichick and Paul Rabil.

On Leadership. “The coaching part isn’t easy but I’ve had a lot of experience with that. It’s the overseeing of all the departments…the things that support our team…it all has to be tied together…that’s not in the football manual.”

On Staffs. “The fewer people you have to manage the easier it is to get everyone on the same page.”

Belichick also said that too little work leads to distractions and complaining. He runs a decentralized command organization where the people best suited to solve a problem are the ones closest to the problem. He holds meetings to ensure everyone knows the direction and finish line.

On Meetings. “My philosophy is if we need to meet we meet…But once you get the information covered get everybody out of the meeting and let them go do it.”

There’s limited micromanagement, everyone has something to do. Brent Beshore said much the same thing, “Really just finding people where we all share in the vision of where we wanna go, and then giving people the autonomy to get there.”

On Culture. “A big part is the selection process. If you select people that aren’t going to be able to adjust to the culture you’re going to be swimming upstream.”

Culture is what people do when you don’t tell them what to do. Good organizations self-select employees, investors, or any stakeholder who want to be there. If a person is the average of the five people they spend the most time with, then organizations are the average of the five people who make the most decisions.

On Goals. “We’ve very short-term, what do we need to do today?…Each day is independent…Until we reach the daily goal there’s no point in trying to go to a place we’re not ready to go to.”

On Commitment. “And at some point, you’re going to have to make a decision between what you want to do and what the team needs you to do and we all expect that we’ll put the team first.”

One of the early CAAA agents (see also: Michael Ovitz) was told his interview was one question if he had a date with a girl he was head over heals for, would he come into work if asked. He said yes and was hired.

On Work. “What’s the point of working hard if you don’t have the right instruction and right methods?”

Throughout the interview, Belichick returns to the idea of small continuous improvements. “Correct the mistake, learn from it, move on.”

On LT ⚡️. “As a coach, you couldn’t see (the opponents strategy) but as an athlete, you could.”

Lawrence Taylor would come off the field and tell the coaches what a team was running. ‘Are you sure?’ They’d ask. ‘Yeah,’ he’d explain, ‘This guy was gonna double team me except the play went to that side’ and so on. LT also said he knew who was blocking him on each play because it was the guy that looked the most afraid.

On Adapting. “You have to have a system that’s flexible enough to handle the various problems you’ll have to handle so that when they come up there’s not a panic on your team.”

On Wharton Moneyball, Chris Collingsworth guessed that part of the reason the Patriots underperform early in the regular season is they’re working on different strategies with players in different roles.

On Timing. “Making the cut at the right time is more important than being fast.”

Every business succeeds because they get the timing right by solving a customer’s need or launching in a bull market.

On Succeeding. “What worked for them worked for them.”

Neil Gaiman advised writers that you are your competitive advantage, no one can tell a story like you can. Everyone has unique experiences that generate unique solutions.

On Preparation. At a certain point in the season, “It’s time to start putting stuff in the drawer. If it doesn’t affect the winning and losing of this game let’s put it in a drawer and deal with it after the season.”


Thanks for reading. Want more Belichick? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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