The 2 Hallmarks of Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick has two of the most important qualities any great leader must possess.
Entering the halftime locker room at Reliant Stadium in Houston, the New England Patriots were trailing 21-3 to the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Only 30 minutes of football remained before a champion would be crowned.
As Patriots Coach Bill Belichick was walking off the field to prepare for the second half, he wasn't panicked, as many might believe; he wasn't emotional or outraged.
He was calm, collected and, most of all, focused on ONLY one thing: the next play. Belichick believed the obstacles weren't insurmountable. All he needed to do was remain calm, stay in the moment and focus on what his team could control.
“He said that we have to keep doing what we’re doing, play like we know how to play, and not think about what happened," former Patriots offensive tackle Nate Solder said. "They have to score a lot more points to keep us down. We knew we could score enough points to win.”
And they did — winning the game in overtime, 34-28.
Tonight, in Foxboro, Mass., Belichick can surpass legendary Chicago Bears Coach George Halas for second on the all-time wins list (playoffs included). Belichick is in his 29th season as a head coach, winning six Super Bowls and two more as an assistant coach.
Belichick has achieved sustainable success in an industry that promotes parity. Many former assistants have attempted to recreate the Patriot way in other cities without much success, in part because Belichick is an outlier whose unique skill set isn't transferable. Belichick has two of the most important qualities all great leaders possess:
Understanding the essence of the job. Like Steve Jobs, Belichick can focus on what is urgent and remove the clutter. Amazon sells the Eisenhower Matrix a "four square to-do list" that forces workers to first work on the most urgent, not necessarily important, item. Belichick follows the Eisenhower model perfectly — and what makes him so successful is understanding what needs to be placed in the urgent box. The matrix only works if the right items are placed in the correct boxes. Belichick also understands that to win, one must first avoid losing. He never worries about improving everything, only the important things.
Love the process more than the result. People who sustain success over long periods never get a thrill from winning. The joy lies in the process. Whether preparing for a Super Bowl game or a regular season game against an inferior opponent, the preparation and attention to detail remain the same. You can never sustain success if you don't love the process more than the results.