New England Patriots and Bill Belichick’s Management Style

What makes the NE Patriots team different from others in the NFL, in terms of their culture and how they are managed?

The New England Patriots distance themselves from every other team in the National Football League (NFL) in many aspects. Not only are they the second team to become a dynasty since the salary cap and free agency, but they have one of the best winning percentage rates in the NFL.

The difference between the Patriots and other NFL teams is their consistency. They do not want to have a great year and win the Super Bowl and have a losing record the next year. Belichick stated that, “Overall our philosophy is to try to be consistent, not to do everything and try to have this one big year and the next year we know we’re going to pay the price. Anybody can do it once, butâÂ?¦team performance over an extended period of timeâÂ?¦is what a champion does” (Beaulieu, p. 6).

Another distinguishing fact that the Patriots have is there lack of “superstars”. Of course, the Patriots have Tom Brady, but other than that, not very many other players on the Patriots football team are known. They do not lead the league in rushing, passing, offense, sacks, or even defense. There are no catch phrases used by commentators when talking about the Patriots. They are just an average team with champion capabilities.

What is the Patriot’s approach to recruiting new employees? What specific skills are they looking for?

The Patriots have a unique way of finding new players for their team. They are not scouting just to find the best athlete. When they go to the draft, they look to see if the player can play for the Patriots. Belichick said, “Scouting is more than just, ‘Can he play?’ it’s, ‘Can he play for us?'”(Beaulieu, p. 14). This difference in selecting players helps the Patriots build a team that will work and play together. Instead of looking for a player that will be a great athlete, they look for a player that will be a great addition to what the team already has in place.

One of the main criteria for Belichick is that the player must love the sport of football. After they signed on a rookie, they would sign them to a six-year deal. This helped them keep their salary cap down. Instead of letting the rookies become this great player and than become unattainable, they signed them early for a cheaper dollar amount.

What stage of team development do you think is most important for the NE Patriots? Why?

Cross-training is definitely the most important stage in team development for the New England Patriots. All of the players learned different roles. Inside linebacker coach, Pepper Johnson said, “The philosophy is to have as many guys as possible who can contribute in more than one way” (Beaulieu, p. 10).

By cross-training players, it gives everybody experience in different positions in case something happens to one of the regular players. It also lets the players gain respect about the other positions. By learning the positions, they understand what each individual position brings to the team, and builds team respect.

What was the problem with Ty Law at the beginning of the 2004 pre-season? What do you think Belichick said to him on the first day of training camp that led to his abrupt change in attitude?

Ty Law wanted to remain as a Patriot’s team member, but he wanted more money and a longer contract. Due to the fact that the Patriots could not go over their salary cap, it was hard for them to give in to Ty Law’s demands.

Belichick talked to him before training camp and Ty Law came back to the team. Belichick probably sat him down and explained to him that the Patriots do not operate how he wanted them to. The Patriots are not a ‘superstar’ team and not one person gets all of the credit. He probably also told him that he had a chance at another Super Bowl ring if he were to stay with the Patriots.

What kind of conflict management style do you think Ty Law has? What kind of conflict management style does Bill Belichick have? Which is more effective, in your opinion, and why?

Ty Law’s conflict management style is simple. He gets angry and lets everybody know that he is upset. This often creates more problems than it does solutions. Ty Law was on national television stating that the Patriot’s offer was an ‘insult’. Not only is it not professional for a player to say that about his own team, it is also very problematic for future situations with the team.

Belichick has a completely opposite conflict management style. He remains calm, looks at the facts, and makes the best decision after he has done the first two. This is an extremely good way to do with a conflict because it doesn’t let the emotions get in the way of the decision.

Belichick’s conflict management style is much better because it will lead to better things in the future instead of more problems. Remaining calm is the best form of action when a problem arises.

The Patriots went on to win the 2004-05 Super Bowl Championship. At the end of the season, Ty Law went to the NY Jets team. Do you think this move was good or bad for the Patriots and why?

Ty Law going to the New York Jets was a good move for the Patriots. Even though Ty Law may have been a valuable player, he was creating a negative energy on the team that was only hurting the Patriots instead of helping them.

What lessons from how the New England Patriots manages their team do you think managers in more typical organizations can utilize?

The first lesson that regular managers could learn from the Patriots is the hiring process. The managers should learn more about the interview process. Instead of looking at somebody’s resume and hiring them based on that alone and a short interview, they should concentrate more on the interview. They should ask themselves if the person being interviewed can fit into the work place that they have. The second lesson is cross-training. Everybody in a department should know what the other person does just in case of a problem arises and nobody can complete the job.

Executive summary, analysis of the problem, set of recommendations for fixing the problem.

The New England Patriots are a model football team. Not only are they a model for other football teams, but a model for all companies and management nationwide. Their system of team and no ‘superstar’ theories are excellent for a team to operate correctly. Their way of dealing with problems is also extraordinary.

There will be problems in any organization. Ty Law created a problem that the patriots had to be able to overcome. Even though it was difficult for them to do with the salary cap and free agency they found a way to deal with it.

A set of rules for rookie players that are signed for a six-year deal could be created stating that they cannot demand a higher salary or threaten to leave. Some more discipline of the players would be an excellent start for fixing the problem.

References
Beaulieu, N. (2005). The New England Patriots: Making The Team. Harvard Business School, 1-21.

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