Do your job…well

  • Published
  • By Maj. Matthew Suhre
  • 319th Communications Squadron commander
I hate Bill Belichick. For those of you who aren't football fans, Bill Belichick is the coach of the National Football League's New England Patriots. As a lifelong Indianapolis Colts fan, I've seen the New England Patriots put an end to my team's Super Bowl aspirations year after year. Admittedly, I've never met the man, but from what I know of him, he is cold, arrogant, and a cheater. However, he is also considered a football genius and a great organizational leader, leading his team to division championships 12 of the last 15 years, 6 super bowl appearances, and 4 titles. Belichick and the Patriots' track record of sustained success all beginning with a simple mantra: "Do your job!"

Belichick's trademark phrase didn't start off as a pleasantry. Instead, it originated from the early days of his coaching career when things weren't going so well. It was part of an expletive-laced tirade designed to motivate his players. On the football field, every position has its own important role to the team. Whether it's the offensive line, quarterback, special teams, or defense, if one part of a unit isn't "doing their job", then other parts of the team will suffer. If the offensive line isn't blocking, then the quarterback will get sacked. If the defensive coordinator puts the team in a goal line defense on third and ten, then they are vulnerable to a long pass. By challenging his players and staff to "do your job", Belichick is challenging them to focus on their task at hand and forget about everyone else's assignment because someone else is depending on them.  For the Patriots, "Do Your Job" encompasses the team's core values. Belichick has ingrained an organizational culture into his team in which every team member is valued and all are pushed to achieve great results. While the overarching philosophy of "Do your job" has produced results on the football field, they can also be applied to the Air Force.

As Airmen we are all on one team working towards a common goal and each have a unique capability that we contribute to the mission. Whether you are a pilot, intelligence analyst, personnelist, civil engineer or client systems technician, someone else is counting on you to do your job. If you do not successfully perform your duties, you may be preventing someone else from being able to accomplish theirs. The video Airpower in Rewind illustrates the fact that it takes a lot more than a pilot to put a single bomb on target. There is a whole support chain required, and if a single link breaks, then the entire mission fails. Regardless of what your AFSC is, there is always someone further down the chain is counting on you to do your job.

Although most of us primarily focus on performing our AFSC specific duties, we must also remember that part of "doing our job" is to be Airmen first. We belong to the profession of arms in which we are warriors dedicated to flying, fighting, and winning. We are expected to be physically fit, medically ready, mentally sharp, and properly trained to handle any challenges that we may face.  As Airmen, we have sworn an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States. We are all here voluntarily, and have agreed to do anything that is asked of us in service to the nation and the Air Force. Sometimes this includes duties that may be outside of our primary AFSC. Whether it's serving as a security forces augmentee, serving on a base clean-up detail, or serving as a convoy commander, these tasks are required to accomplish the greater mission and are part of our jobs as Airmen. As a Commander, I do not allow my Airmen to say "that's not my job".

While "Do your job" has been popularized on t-shirts and posters, Belichik has stated "Maybe the one word that isn't in that, that's implied, is do your job well." To Belichik, simply showing up and doing the bare minimum isn't a worthy accomplishment. It might be enough to stay on the team, but there are hundreds of others who want to take your roster spot. Whether it's reviewing game film, work outs, or practices, Belichick demands the best from everyone in his organization. In pushing each individual player to give their best effort, the team as a whole has experienced 15 years of sustained excellence.

"...well" ties directly to the Air Force core value of "Excellence in all we do." As Airmen we are expected to put forth our best effort in everything we do. We don't settle for good enough because our standard is excellence. This doesn't mean we can't fail, it means that we learn from our mistakes and we get better. We continuously seek ways for improvement and innovation that will continue to push the Air Force forward. Each Airman is expected to be the expert in their specific field and perform their duties to meet the highest standards. By striving for excellence we will continue to meet current mission requirements and be prepared for emerging threats.

"Do your job" has been the mantra of the New England Patriots over their past 15 years of sustained success. "Do your job" is also applicable to the United States Air Force. Like the Patriots, we are all part of a team whose sum is greater than its individual players and every Airman plays a vital role to the overall success of the organization. However, our organization doesn't play football games. Our Mission is to fly, fight, and win. Lives and perhaps even our national security may depend on you "doing your job...well".