OT: Bill Belichick is a Level-5 Executive ('Good to Great')

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by maverick4, Jan 16, 2008.

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  1. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

    Has anyone else read the business book 'Good to Great' by that Stanford business professor guy? It describes qualities that take good organizations to exceptional elite organizations, which do way better than most Fortune 500 companies, and one of the main facets is a Level-5 guy making the decisions.

    They describe a Level-5 leader as:
    - quiet, not attention seeking, humble, and deflect credit to others.
    - can be ruthless, always focusing on the bottom line, not afraid to make highly unpopular or drastic decisions for the benefit of the company.
    - always focus on what can be improved, not afraid to brutally confront flaws or mistakes.
    - strength of professional will, almost fanatical about the work and the company.
    - workmanlike diligence - more of a plow horse than a show horse.
    - ambitious for the company, not themselves (money, fame, glory, prestige, etc)

    As I was reading this, I couldn't help but notice how similar Bill Belichick was to most of the CEO's profiled in that chapter. Has anyone else read this book?
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2008
  2. Disco Volante

    Disco Volante Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #12 Jersey

    Seems spot on.
  3. richpats

    richpats Banned

    I read it last year for an MBA course. Really good book. The author is Jim Collins. Another key point in the book is that a "good" company can only become "great" after it overhauls its personnel that are best-suited to fulfill the company's vision. This is similar to the FA acquisitions prior to 2001 or the WR overhaul prior to 2007.

    No coincidence that Belichick was an economics major - my managerial economics professor mentioned Belichick in dealing with "Game Theory", specifically going for it on 4th down.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2008
  4. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

    It perfectly describes what has happened to the Pats, too.

    We were a playoff team, a winner who had gone to a Superbowl and won a few division championships... but Belichick took them to a whole other level. It is almost a textbook example for this guy's book 'Good to Great'.

    We have the highest winning percentage over any 5 year span ever, the only perfect team during the regular season of 16 games, and possibly about to win 4 out of 7.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2008
  5. TK in the UK

    TK in the UK Rookie

    Wow.... this is a thought that caught me by surprize. While I have been lurking around this site for a long time (great place to keep up with my Pats), I've never felt impelled to post before. But I may just have an insight on this issue that is worth sharing.

    I was a VP at one of the companies cited by Collins - Circuit City in the late 80's when they went from being a small regional retailer to a dominating national one. While all I know about the Pats organization is what I can read, I think there are more than just one or two parrallels between them and CirCty:

    * they both seem to have more than 1 level 5 execs. The Pats have Kraft and BB. CC had a Chairman (Alan Wertzel) and a CEO (Rick Sharp).

    * Wertzel's gone now but the comparisons possible with him and Kraft are uncanny. Perhaps the biggest is how they both went out and got the man they wanted to run their organization against great opposition (with many feeling he had selected the wrong man).

    * Comparisons between BB and Sharp are not as clear cut but they do have incredible focus on goals, the ability to get their people to share that focus and an absolute inability to accept anything but perfection.

    * the organizations themselves also have a number of parrallels. Let me, off the top of my head, run through a quick list.

    * the focus on goals is a given. But one unusual shared characteristic is that they both seem to care (and focus) as much on HOW the organization goes about achieving its goal.

    * they keep their egos under control. For example, both are willing to drop a strategy if it isn't working and adopt a new one. Now that may seem to be just common sense (an oxymoron if there ever was one) but almost no organisation ever does it until it's far too late.

    * they both seem to trust their people to do their jobs -ie, no micro-management but a lot of support and involvment with managers actually sharing in the workload. (think how BB actually coaches without taking authority away from his assistant coaches)

    Okay, I could go on but I'm sure this is boring to most of you so I'll stop now. Plus, I left CC almost 20 years ago and the parallels may no longer exists. My thanks to whoever brought the topic up - it's always fun to remember the good old days. (PS - Collins got a number of details wrong but he was right on every single major point. The book is well worth reading)

  6. Pat_the_Patriot

    Pat_the_Patriot Practice Squad Player

    Great thought... I've read the book and it never occurred to me to apply it to a football team (not sure why, now... it is, after all, very much like a business on the field and VERY MUCH a business off of the field)... but I think that your thoughts are spot on.

    Also just want to share that the Pats are lucky to share THREE men that may classified as "5s".... BB, Kraft and Pioli.... Pioli shares a lot of attributes with both BB and Pioli... just a thought there.
  7. GostkowSKI

    GostkowSKI On the Game Day Roster

    Read it for a business class in college, basically one of the main trademarks of a level 5 leader is someone who would rather leave their company in better shape than they got there; instead of obtaining joy by seeing it crumble when they depart. I feel that Belichick would rather see this team be set up for the future after he departs rather than to load up for one final push.
  8. teamplay

    teamplay Practice Squad Player

    Collins also makes the point that great companies stick to a plan and strategy for the long haul, and eventually they build the momentum of a giant flywheel: an almost unstoppable force. All season, I've been thinking of Collins' flywheel analogy as it applies to the Patriots: what's happened this year (17-0) is the product of 8 years of dedication to the same plan and strategy.
  9. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

    Another thing I was thinking was that Belichick cares very much about what kinds of players he brings in. He wants not just strong, tough, fast players, but those who have a passion for the game and have character. All of these are also attributes of 'good to great' companies, putting the personnel first and then figuring out how to best use your people. Belichick is the same way, he brings the best guys he can, then changes his strategy based on his team's players.
  10. hallfamebrady

    hallfamebrady On the Game Day Roster

    I heard Jim Collins speak once and the comparisions to the Pats are uncanny. The one that stands out is you are either on the bus or off the bus. Collins said that employees who do not fit the mold set in the companies core values fail and are quicky dismissed.

    Sound like the Pats
  11. Michigan Dave

    Michigan Dave Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    Yup. Goof to Great is one of the books on our executive development plans. I read the following article, which is somewhat relevant and was brought up at a seminar I attended:

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