You know the feeling when you say a word over and over again and it suddenly seems to lose all of its meaning? The same works with slogans such as the New England Patriots’ famous “Do Your Job” mantra.
It is everywhere. There is an NFL Films documentary called like that. Commercials are using its. There are T-shirts and hats and you-name-it. “Do Your Job” has become the battle cry for an entire region, but it is much more than that at least as far as the team that introduced it to New England’s vocabulary is concerned.
“Do Your Job” is the foundation of the Patriots’ success, as former linebacker and current assistant coach Jerod Mayo recently explained.
Appearing on the World Reimagined podcast, Mayo touched on a variety of topics. Among them was the Patriots’ ability to sustain success over two decades and build the lone dynasty of the NFL’s salary cap era. How did they do it? Players such as Mayo himself or the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, certainly played their role, but so did those three little words and what they represent.
“The organization starting at the top with the Kraft Family has done a great job putting the North Star out there. This is the North Star. And Coach Belichick has taken that North Start and broken it down until into almost like ‘Do Your Job,’” Mayo told host Gautam Mukunda.
“I think Bill has done a great job removing the ambiguity, removing all the grayness and saying, ‘Do Your job.’ There’s no way around it. There’s no way you can talk yourself out of this thing. Your number one thing today is ‘Do Your job.’ Clear, concise, and guys understand that more than they understand some of these other slogans.”
Mayo joined the Patriots as a first-round draft pick back in 2008, and quickly established himself as a team leader and valuable member of the club’s defense. A one-time Super Bowl winner, he appeared in a combined 111 regular season and playoff games for the club before a series of injuries forced him to announce his retirement after the 2015 season.
Four years later, Mayo returned to the Patriots to take over as inside linebackers coach and a prominent role on the defensive coaching staff.
Since then, the now-35-year-old has seen the organization from another perspective and come to understand how much the “Do Your Job” mindset means beyond just being a popular slogan. It stands for easily understandable responsibilities, and the basis of what Belichick and the Patriots ask from their players and coaches.
According to Mayo that is a much more effective communication strategy than some of the vaguely-worded slogans propagated in corporate America.
“You have to be explicit about job description. You’re an outside linebacker your job is to set the edge. You’re a quarterback your number one job is to not turn the ball over and secondly make good decisions. Everyone wants to talk about big arms and, ‘Can this guy run?’ and all this stuff. This guy needs to be a good decision maker. You’re a wide receiver what’s your number one job? Get open. Number two? Catch the ball,” he said.
“Be clear, be explicit in job description.”
For as complex as the Patriots’ schemes appear to be, it all starts with the simple idea of making everything as easily describable as possible. At the very center lies “Do Your Job.” This is your job. This is how you should do it. Now, go and do it.
Belichick has used it for years now, but it still is at the heart of everything the organization does — starting with him, down to the coaches such as Jerod Mayo, and further down the players.