Even though much of NFL football fandom is still reveling at "Deflatgate," the accusation that the New England Patriots purposely under-inflated footballs in last week's game in order to score an advantage over their hapless opponents, the Indianapolis Colts, I thought it was still worth noting that the Patriots are an incredible football team.
Undoubtedly, some of the credit for the team's success is due its head coach, Bill Belichick. Regardless of what you may think of him, Belichick's "Do your job!" philosophy is worth learning more about because of what it can offer to leaders who are trying to establish a winning culture.
Roughly translated, "Do Your Job!" means being prepared, working hard, paying attention to the details and putting the team first.
There must be something to it.
Since Belichick took over the New England Patriots, his team has enjoyed 14 straight winning seasons, 12 playoff appearances, 6 AFC championships, and, is vying for its 4th Super Bowl title this weekend--that's pretty special, particularly in an era where free agency can wreak havoc on winning franchises.
The coach's "Do your job!" philosophy just may be the difference maker. Elegant in its simplicity, "Do your job!" translates well for us as business leaders and entrepreneurs. When reinforced, the message strengthens trust and leads to greater accomplishment within an organization. Here are some ways to incorporate "Do your job!" sensibilities into how we, as business leaders, manage and lead:
- Communicate the Game Plan to your people by providing a compelling vision for them to buy into and a plan that enables its achievement. For Belichick, the vision is to win the next game and the game plans that he and his coaches provide the team each week outlines how the New England Patriots will go about attaining victory. We must do the same for our teams--define the goal and determine the steps needed to achieve it.
- Set Expectations for Each Player by translating the game plan into "actionable" items that each person is accountable for executing. If a Patriots player fails to execute his job responsibilities, it may result in defeat. If, on the other hand, everyone on the team does their job as defined in the plan, the team will win.
- Practice the Fundamentals so that each player can develop the skills needed to live up to and exceed expectations. The Patriots players practice their game plan all week long in preparation for that week's game. Practice gives them the experience and confidence needed to achieve greatness. Businesses need to prepare their people, in the same way, by providing the appropriate training and coaching required to win.
- Provide Immediate Feedback to enable learning. Coach Belichick assists his players to perform at the highest levels by providing feedback during practices and games. We can do the same by creating and taking advantage of learning opportunities for our staff members. Your team will become better at "doing their jobs" through your active leadership.
- Encourage Trust and Inspire Confidence by promoting team values, endorsing loyalty and instilling a strong sense of "being in it together." By infusing, within your team, a management principle that one does not play for the glory of winning for one's self, but, for each other, you will build a team-based mindset within your organization much like Belichick has done within the New England Patriots.
It is up to us to impart a "Do Your Job!" mentality within the organizations and teams that we lead. If we do it well, we will win. If we don't, we must rely on superstars to rise to the occasion every time that our firms face adversity--and, over time, that will only result in failure because, eventually, your best people will burnout or head for greener pastures. Instead, follow the ideas suggested above and build a culture that can sustain challenges and flourish into the future. It is one of the reasons that the Patriots have headed to the Super Bowl an unprecedented 6 times in 14 years!