Today in a CNBC exclusive, Suzy Welch interviewed the incomparable head coach of the New England Patriots Bill Belichick.  There are few leaders in any industry as accomplished as the five-time Super Bowl champion.  I found Coach Belichick’s quotes very insightful.  Whether you lead an athletic organization, business, church, educational institution or non-profit, his thoughts will make you better.

The following are 33 Leadership Lessons From Bill Belichick’s Interview With Suzy Welch.  All comments are from Coach Belichick unless otherwise noted.

  1. Great Leaders Are Experts At Their Craft – “I think I know a little bit about competition.  I think I know a little bit about leadership.  And I think I know a little bit about football.”
  2. Great Leaders Have Great Preparation – “Every battle is won before it’s fought.  Sun Tzu – Art of War.  It’s all about preparation.  You know what you’re doing and you have an idea what the opponent’s going to do – what their strengths and weaknesses are.  Once you get into the game, those adjustments are relatively easy.”
  3. Great Leaders Have Great Execution – “Our game is so fast.  Everything happens so quickly.  So you review the situation.  You review the communication.  You try to make sure everybody’s on the same page.  If it’s too complicated it’s probably not going to work.  If it’s too simple that might not work either because it’s too obvious.  You try to find that fine line in the middle where it’s challenging enough for your opponents but it’s simple to execute.  It comes down to execution.”
  4. Great Leaders Desire Great Control – “We didn’t have control of the score but I thought we had control of the game.”
  5. Great Leaders Just Want A Chance – “As long as there was still time I thought we had a chance.”
  6. Great Leaders Are Great Decision-Makers – “I just try to take it from play-to-play and make the best decision we can for the next play.”
  7. Nothing Of Any Value Ever Comes Easy – “General Eisenhower put it pretty well, ‘A battle plan is great until you actually get into the battle and then it doesn’t mean anything.'”
  8. Great Leaders Have A Great Process – “My job as a coach is to make good decisions…Take information.  Calculate it.  Put it through some type of process and figure out what’s the next thing to do.”
  9. Great Leaders Have Great Respect For Their Profession – “More sport than business but it’s a business.  But I respect the game for the game and for the sport.” – on the word “football”
  10. Great Leaders Focus On Accomplishment – “The goal.  There’s no medals for trying.  This isn’t the eight grade where everybody gets a trophy.  This is professional football and it’s competitive to win.” – on winning
  11. Great Leaders Love What They Do – “All of us got into football because of the game, because we love to go to practice, because we loved to play the game when we are 8, 9, 10 years old.”
  12. Great Leaders Are Great Learners – “I learned coaching at an early age.  How coaches think.  What bothers them.  What doesn’t bother them.  There’s a lot of coaching styles…You figure out what works for you.”
  13. Great Leaders Figure It Out – “In business and in life just figure it out.”
  14. Great Leaders Develop And Use Great Ideas – “Don’t be afraid to use a good idea even if it’s unconventional.”
  15. Great Leaders Have An Ethos.  They Have Core Values. – “Do you job.  Be attentive.  Pay attention to details.  Put the team first.”
  16. You Can’t Be A Great Leader Without The Help Of A Great Team – “In football, to be successful as an individual player you need your teammates.  And the better you connect with them, the better you interact as team, the more successful you’ll be individually.”
  17. Everyone On The Team Benefits From Individual Performance – “On the field if one person does something particularly good, everyone receives the benefit.”
  18. Great Leaders Prioritize Interaction And Personal Connection – “I do all I can to fight it (social media)…We try to encourage the interaction and personal connection…As much as I can try to eliminate it on our team, I’m going to try and stamp it out.”
  19. Great Leaders Coach Everyone The Same – “Just from a pure coaching standpoint, I try to coach all the players the same…If I’m favoring one that’s not favoring 52.”
  20. Great Leaders Are Just – “I give everyone what they earn.”
  21. Great Leaders Push People Out Of The Comfort Zone – “He (Coach Belichick) makes it harder for us in practice than it is during the game.” – Tom Brady
  22. Great Leaders Work Very Hard – “(Brady) Works very hard.  He’s very smart.  He’s trained hard.  He’s worked hard on his throwing mechanics.  He’s worked hard on his mental understanding of the game and process.  He’s earned everything that he’s achieved…He’s a very smart, instinctive football player.”
  23. Talent Is Never Enough – “It’s not all about talent.  It’s about dependability, consistency, and being able to improve.”
  24. Even Great Leaders Can Still Get Better – “If you work hard and you’re coachable and you understand what you need to do, you can improve.”
  25. Great Leaders Ruthlessly Self-Evaluate – “After every game I look at the mistakes that were made by me, by the coaching staff.”
  26. Good players can’t overcome bad coaching.  It’s impossible.”
  27. Great Leaders Count On Their Dependable People – “You’ve got to count on your most dependable people.”
  28. Great Leaders Are Great Delegators – “When you’re the head coach you can only do so many details.  Sometimes I was too detail-oriented on tasks I was on and didn’t have enough breadth.”
  29. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know…In life it’s so much the opportunities you get from people and the opportunities those relationships give you.”
  30. Great Leaders Love The Game More Than They Love What The Game Gives Them – “I like what I’m doing.  I enjoy all parts of the game – the team building, training camp, game days.”
  31. Great Leaders Build Competitive Teams – “The goal today is put a good competitive team together.”
  32. Great Leaders Set And Focus On Short-Term Goals – “We can only control what we can control in the short term – this week, our next opportunity.”
  33. Great Leaders Have Paid The Price And Earned The Success They Have.  They Deserve Respect. – “They (five championship rings) were earned.  You can’t buy them in a store.  They were earned.  They’ll never be able to take them away and that’s a proud feeling to have.  That’s an achievement that was competitively earned.  And that ring symbolizes achievement and accomplishment.  Very proud.”

What is one thing you learned from Suzy’s interview with Coach Belichick that will make you a better leader?

To receive more leadership insights from one of the world’s greatest coaches, click HERE or on the image to the left for my new ebook The Leadership Of Nick Saban: Timeless Truths From The Incomparable Head Coach Of The Alabama Crimson Tide.  Enjoy!



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