Whether or not you are a fan of Bill Belichick and the Patriots, there is a mantra by which he lives that I find fascinating. This very mantra coincides with a lesson my father taught me when I was a youngster.
The NFL network recently aired an hour-long program featuring the Patriots and their championship season entitled, “Do Your Job.” I felt that the consistent message throughout the program was, at the core, what leadership is about: Just do your job well!
While some folks might disagree with me, in my limited experience in the business world, I have witnessed resounding similarities when it comes to business, football, and the dynamics involved with “winning.”
At my firm, Solutions 21, a global consulting firm, we focus on strategic planning and developing leaders within the 21st century. One of the biggest disparities that we consistently come across is the lack of understanding HOW and WHY doing your job well is important. As simple as it sounds, doing your job well is not easy. There is a lot that goes into it. And leadership (or lack thereof) is primarily responsible for the failure in this forum.
Coach Belichick is quoted as saying that players win games but coaches lose them. If you talk to anyone that played for Coach Belichick you won’t find a single person who would question his ability to lead. They might not agree with his style of the message, but there is an inarguable decision that needs to be made when playing for his team: Are you in or are you out? Everyone on Coach Belichick’s team is held to the highest standard of excellence. Why? Because everyone believes that they are a piece of the puzzle and do their job as well as they can.
I think doing your job well is expected in sports — especially professional sports. Unfortunately, I don’t see this notion transitioning to the business world. In professional sports, coaches lose their jobs if their players don’t perform. The staff is hired to recruit, develop and execute the game plan, and expected to win. Winning is, without a doubt, the primary focus.
In business, I don’t quite see the intentional commitment to developing the TEAM. Presidents and CEOs are hired and have all of these boxes they like to check. Most of them even say that people are their most important asset, yet we don’t see much that backs this up. And ultimately, if things go wrong, they fire people and blame them in a reactive method instead of getting their hands dirty and offering a proactive solution with customized development opportunities.
To me, the 21st century is about attracting and developing talent. It is going to be the competitive advantage moving forward. Existing leaders and bosses need to take a long look at how they are developing folks and how knowledge capital is being transferred because the data is telling us that it’s not working. I am not saying that we need to coddle or bend over backwards for our emerging talent. I’m saying we need to do a better job at helping them do their job so that, ultimately, they are prepared to be better leaders for the future of the company.
All of our research says most companies are struggling to attract, develop and retain good, young talent. Take a look at any great professional football franchise — Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers. These teams have been able to remain consistent because of continuity in leadership practices and development of their players. You can’t win without great players. This philosophy is no different when it comes to business.
Football has had to adapt to the times. The principles have stayed the same — score more points that the other team, play mistake free, limit turnovers, possess the ball longer than your opponent, and execute the game plan — the strategy, however, has changed to mimic the times.
Football is much more finesse with more teams being pass-oriented and better skilled. The rule changes that are protecting player safety have also changed the strategy. This change has forced teams to reexamine roster spots and play calls. The successful organizations have adapted their strategies to meet the 21st century.
If you are an existing leader in today’s workforce and are looking reach the pinnacle in your industry, or are already there and looking to stay atop that pinnacle, I’d ask you — Are your folks doing their job? Simply telling them doesn’t work in the 21st century. You will need to adapt your strategy while staying true to timeless leadership principles.
Do your job… well!
Interested in learning more on this subject matter? Click here to check out more information on the 2015 Leadership Summit presented by Solutions 21 and register to attend our event!