Dressed in a suit and tie, not his usual gray hoodie, Belichick joked that he had to show an introductory video so people would know who he is, which got laughs from the attendees.
“In business things change quickly -- in your profession and in ours,” said Belichick. “There are always new people and new environments.” He connected with the audience, adding that it is a big part of his job, as it is a big part of any business leader’s job.
Each teammate’s has to do their part, Belichick emphasizes to each player and each coach, “We need to all do our job.” For the Patriots this means four things: being prepared, working hard, paying attention to the details and putting the team first.
There is a mix of compatibility and partnership, similar to any business, he said.
Belichick believes preparation is so important, referencing Sun Tzu’s famous quote, “Every battle is won before it is ever fought.” He noted it is on one of the few signs they have hanging in the locker room.
Belichick asked the attendees, ‘How do you know when your team is prepared?’ He admitted, “There just isn’t enough time to tell everyone what to do. When everyone knows what to do, that’s when you know you are prepared. In business, it is really the same thing."
"We only play once a week, not like baseball or basketball, he said. "We have to improve and prepare in all those practice sessions.”
Belichick told the crowd they have to prepare too, in order to be successful in the business world.
In showing some plays on the big screen to the crowd, he gave an example of how some things go as planned and some things do not. Belichick said, “Practice preparation becomes game reality. If it worked in practice, then it has a chance to work in the game.”
He showed a film of practices where his team was working on goal-line stands and then how it paid off in a game later in the year. He shared, “Having the ball on the one-yard line maybe only happens 15 times a year. When it comes up, it can be the biggest play of the game. It doesn’t happen that often, but you need to prepare for it.”
Is talent the most important aspect?
When it comes to the NFL, Belichick said, “There are hundreds of others that might even have more talent. It is not all about talent. There is certainly a level playing field.”
He explained there really are only small, marginal differences from the great players and good players. Players need to work hard and take advantage of opportunities. He reiterated, “It is all part of the preparation.”
Belichick insisted, “To improve, you need to be a great listener. Players will level off, if they stop listening.” They always need to be listening to instructions for ways to do it better, so they can continue to learn.
“In football, we have to have teamwork,” said Belichick. “It’s not like individual sports like golf and tennis.” He gave interesting statistics in recent years where the MVP was usually not on the championship team. Evidence that teamwork trumps talent.
He gave an example of two players who have overcome talent short falls, but are very successful: Tom Brady, his Hall of Fame quarterback, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who just ran for 1,000 yards with the Patriots. Belichick explained, “They still have short comings, but they play to their strengths. Their deficiencies don’t get spotlighted.”
Great players can understand their own weaknesses and play to them, he said.
“There are certain team jobs that everyone has to do," he added. In football, it's things like conditioning, blocking and tackling. In business it is very similar with certain standards that everyone has to achieve.