I am not a Patriots fan by any stretch of the imagination, but no NFL team can match their success over the past 18 years. Why is that? Is it that Tom Brandy is arguably the best quarterback ever to play? Well, that helps, but I believe more than anything it’s their institutional culture that keeps them going to Super Bowl after Super Bowl.
‘Do Your Job’
Institutional culture is what drives the success of teams, and businesses. A distinct culture will resonate with the members of the institution and allow them to perform at their best. Sports pundits use the term “buy-in” when regarding players joining a team like the Patriots. Can this player “buy-in” to the culture of the team? If the player can, then success on the team is sure to follow. The mantra, “Do Your Job” is how the Patriots define their culture.
“Do Your Job” seems simple on the surface but the depths of mantra hide beneath. “Do Your Job” is about performing your duties to the standard the team has set for the betterment of the overall institutional goal. It also sets accountability for that performance. If you think about your workplace, how many people can you say meet this standard? I believe most companies and teams run on an 80/20 rule; 80% of the people do the minimum or less and 20% work hard and make up for the rest. In most cases, it is not the 80% fault for underperforming. Mediocre performance is often encouraged and reward at most businesses. Definitive accountability, growth, and reward will help to incentivize people to perform to the “Do Your Job” standard.
What makes “Do Your Job” such a useful mantra to build a culture around is the accountability that it brings. Members of teams or business need to be accountable for their actions and performances that their excepted to do. People are often hurt and upset when critically critiqued on their job when they should be thankful for the knowledge of how to improve and perform better the next time.
Pieces are Interchangeable
Everyone is interchangeable in order to continue institutional progression. If you can not do your job, then the team will find someone who can. It sounds harsh, but in specific industries where winning matters, you need to do your part. Education, mentorship, and experience are essential for an individual to grow into their position within a team but after an allotted amount of time, the individual needs to perform. Bill Belichick is notorious for trading players without notice and even some still in their prime. He does this because it’s about the institutional progression. A player may still be performing at a high level but if that performance doesn’t fit into the mold of the team than it’s time to cut ties and move forward.
The Harsh Reality
Sports organizations have a different set of rules than the rest of society. The sports operation side is winning a game but how to get individuals to perform to their best in a group is the same regardless of the industry. I’m not for cutthroat industries where people are treated poorly. Labor protection should be afforded to everyone regardless of industry. People should also be given the opportunity to grow into their positions. However, if you can’t perform to help the success of the team than it’s time to move on. It’s a harsh reality of winning, but it’s also the reality of progress and growth.
I’m a writer and filmmaker from Santa Fe, NM. I write, run, and eat plants.