Belichick Keeps Teaching Us How To Win

Posted On April 24, 2017

A couple months ago, I wrote in this space about New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s disdain for social media – “I’m not on SnapFace and all that,” he famously said last season – and the fact that most of us can’t afford to be so blasé about it.

In a recent interview with CNBC, however, the five-time Super Bowl winner offered some perspective on his view.

Personal relationships, Belichick said, are essential to success, and social media can distract you from them.

Certainly we can see this in the business world, where in-person networking is still much more effective than trying to connect with potential clients, suppliers or future employers online. But Belichick said getting to know people personally is also important to your personal and professional growth.

We know him now as the most successful coach in the NFL – maybe ever. But like every successful person in the history of ever, Belichick’s accomplishments can be traced to the people who helped him and from whom he learned along the way.

Chief among them for Belichick would have been Bill Parcells, under whom he worked with the Patriots and New York Giants. In turn, other successful coaches like Nick Saban and Bill O’Brien can credit their success to the experience they gained working under Belichick.

But Belichick added that it’s not just important to build relationships with people who can help you – potential employers or leaders in your field. Sometimes the greatest lessons come from unexpected places.

“The people who are your peers or, a lot of the time, the people who are under you are really, I’d say, the more important relationships,” Belichick told CNBC.

The reason for this in Belichick’s world is obvious – no coach can win without a team of players who are bought in to his leadership and his system. The working world is similar, however. Former Google executive Kim Scott, in another interview with CNBC, says one of the primary keys to being a successful boss or manager is developing personal relationships with your employees.

Those relationships don’t happen via email. They happen through spending time with people, asking questions about their lives and sharing something about your own.

“It’s about giving a damn,” Scott told CNBC, “sharing more than just your work self and encouraging everyone who reports to you to do the same.”

That’s why, even though he rarely shares them himself, we hear stories like the one about Belichick taking time to seek out former Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork before a game last season against Wilfork’s new team, the Houston Texans. Belichick could have sent his former player a text or a Facebook message, but it was important to him to see Wilfork personally.

Relationships are important – even when they have no apparent direct benefit to you – and for people like Belichick, “SnapFace” can’t carry the same weight.

Categories: Work, Workplace