New England Patriot Coach Bill Belichick won his fourth Super Bowl last night. Even amidst a controversy over cheating in the January 18 game against the Indianapolis Colts, his legacy will be as a master strategist of the game of American football.
What does Bill Belichick do differently or better than any other coach? Belichick is known for his ability to recruit and develop the right players, producing a strong 53-man roster, not just a few superstars with a weak supporting staff. He also continuously alters his talent management strategies and his defensive and offensive schemes to gain an advantage against opponents. His talent management prowess could serve as an example for almost every type of business.
When he started coaching the New England Patriots 14 years ago, Belichick recruited players to fit the 3-4 defense, known for its versatility and ability to stop the run. (That is, with three down linemen and four linebackers—the opposite of what most teams did then). This allowed him to draft more, less-expensive linebackers, rather than costlier defensive linemen. He also drafted “teachable” linebackers whom he could train to work within his system rather than expensive, top-college picks. His shrewd selections provided additional money to upgrade talent in other areas without busting the National Football League salary cap.
When the league began following his winning defensive scheme, creating a shortage of linebackers, Belichick switched back to the 4-3 defense. Once again, he gained an edge on the field and in the draft. Belichick drafted teachable and versatile defensive ends, which had become less expensive. This year, the Patriots have used the 4-3, 3-4, and variations of each formation, depending on the weakness of the opposing team and game situation – all learned by studying game films, data and results.
Coach Bill Belichick’s abilities to choose and develop a winning team and stay ahead of his opponents speak for themselves.
What Can Businesses Learn from Coach Bill Belichick?
Talent management strategies, like those practiced by Coach Bill Belichick, do not just work for sports teams. Empirical research from high powered consulting firms such as McKinsey and Company, Gallup, Towers Watson, and The Blue Ocean Strategy Institute has shown that companies with effective talent management strategies consistently outperform companies without them. This includes: shareholder value, productivity, operating margins, morale, turnover, safety incidents and quality.
Does your company have talent management strategies in place that would enable you to win the Super Bowl in your industry? Do your recruiting, development and reward strategies align with your business strategies? Are you collecting data to know what does and does not work? Are you adapting as your business faces new opportunities? What works best for you? I would love to hear from you.
Victor Assad is a strategic human resources consultant and coach who works with key decision makers and human resources leaders on talent management, accelerating change, leadership development, and merger and acquisition initiatives. Please e-mail Victor at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Victor’s website at www.victorhrconsultant.com.