Business Lessons of Coaching; If Bill Belichick and Andy Reid Weren't Football Coaches, They Could Be Paragons of the Business World

Article excerpt

Byline: TIMOTHY J. GIBBONS, The Times-Union

"The key to success is having good people around you," Robert Kraft said last week.

That's New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a man who made millions and founded one of the biggest privately owned paper companies in the country. A man who helped build Gillette Stadium, the home of the Patriots. And a man who knows enough to hire people who are good at their jobs, like head coach Bill Belichick, and then step back and let them work.

Both Kraft and Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie have demonstrated good management skills in their coach selection, but today we're going to take a look at the management skills of the coaches themselves.

Belichick and Eagles head coach Andy Reid are both celebrated for their ability to take a group of strong-willed, big-egoed men and turn them into cohesive units aiming for a common goal. They're recognized for being able to work within a firmly capped budget and for being able to get customers (aka "fans") excited about their product.

In short, if they weren't coaches, they could be paragons of the business world.

Those business skills probably won't be the top thing on your mind today, but if you do spare a thought for the work world in between watching Donovan McNabb and Tom Brady toss the pigskin, here's a few lessons you can glean from the men on the sidelines:

BE DECISIVE

Whether it was his decision soon after taking over as Patriots coach to go with Brady over Drew Bledsoe or his earlier move, as coach in Cleveland, to bench Bernie Kosar, a popular Browns player, Belichick has never shied away from making a decision and standing by it. "There is no sense in being wishy-washy," Belichick told the Boston Globe, according to an article posted at allthingsbillbelichick.com. "That's not what I'm paid to do."

Reid had a similar experience a few weeks into his first season with the Eagles when he kept Donovan McNabb on the bench after picking him early in the draft. "Reid was a man with a plan -- and he stuck to his plan," his agent, Bob LaMonte wrote in Winning the NFL Way, a book that offers leadership lessons from Reid and four other coaches. "It didn't matter what anyone else thought. He was the head coach and it was his call."

HAVE A VISION

Reid came to Philadelphia to take the helm of a team with the worst record in the league. When he walked in, he knew exactly what he wanted to change and how he was going to do it -- and he let people know it. "I had a vision of what I thought this team could be and I made it crystal clear to everyone in this organization what it was," Reid said in Winning the NFL Way. "When people have an opportunity to see that direction and work through it, I think they're likely to succeed."

DO WHAT YOU LOVE

"If you're thinking about job opportunities, I would not take the job that pays more than the other one," Belichick told a group of students at Boston College in April. "Do something that you really love. If you can find something you love to do, it makes it easier to come to work every day regardless of what you are getting paid."

CONNECT WITH YOUR EMPLOYEES

From talking to the trainers and position coaches, to having sports psychiatrists sit down with his players, Reid will do everything he can to understand what makes his team tick. …

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