Do Your Job

Next week, I will be ceding this space to Diane Foster as she welcomes lower school parents on their visiting day. So, I’ll have to get my (annual?) celebration of local sports team excellence in this week. If you are not a sports fan, bear with me—the BSO gets some love here, too. If you are a sports fan, but you’re not a Pats fan…apologies in advance.

A year ago, on the eve of last year’s Super Bowl, I reflected on a life of New England fandom and the lessons I learned from both the successes and failures of local teams and the lessons for our children who are growing up in the ‘City of Champions.’ “Enjoy it, because it won’t last forever” was at least one of the sentiments I was trying to convey. Leave it to the coach, the quarterback, and the team to make me look like a fool a year later. For what it is worth, that is a price I am happy to pay.

This year, I am drawn to the Patriots’ success as a study of systems, discipline, and leadership.  

I have the Patriots “Do Your Job” mug in my office. Not because I am particularly fond of Belichick’s brusque delivery or callous reputation, but because I believe fully in the sentiment of the team’s approach. As far as I can tell, the goal of the team is not to rely too heavily on one athlete (Tom Brady may be a notable exception here), but, instead, to ask everyone on the field and within the franchise to do what they have been asked to do to the best of their ability. Once a culture like that is implemented, and excellence achieved, the system replicates success because the entire franchise is disciplined, and recognizes and celebrates the leadership within that makes the whole thing work.

I think about it the way I think about the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The coach-conductor analogy seems particularly self-evident, but consider the various instruments within a given section of the orchestra. No one musician is ever asked to do more than their job, so long as they are doing that job to the highest degree of their ability. No chair in that orchestra is ever expected to carry their section, but rather, they are expected to lead—to determine and articulate the standard of excellence for every musician on the stage. They do their job with an enviable system of discipline and the highest of standards.

This mindset extends directly to my view of our school and its faculty. A student’s experience at Belmont Day is intended to be the sum of many parts: excellence delivered by different teachers, staff members, administrators, and peers that results in an innovative, diverse, whole child experience rooted in our six core values. So long as we are working as a team, with everyone doing their job to the best of their ability, then we should expect nothing short of excellence at every turn. That’s why I got the mug. The message for me is about much more than the Patriots’ success. It is about a disciplined system of leadership at every level of the organization that produces consistent results.

Of course, this week, it will also have me fired up to watch the local team seize the opportunity for a staggering sixth championship in sixteen years. Have a great weekend, everyone.  

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