3 Leadership Tips From A Great Scotsman

3 leadership tips from Sir Alex Ferguson, retired manager of Manchester United soccer team

Courtesy of bbc.co.uk

I’ve rekindled my relationship with an old love. I did it mainly because my wife wanted me to.

She thought I was doing the same old things all the time and that some variety would be good for our relationship.

It’s working really well. I’m happier and my wife is taking a more active role in it than I ever imagined she would. That’s providing a whole new level of enjoyment for me………..

Yes, starting to watch the Barclays Premier League soccer matches regularly again was a great idea. And talking to Deborah about the teams and games is really neat.

One of the absorbing aspects of this season is what’s happening at Manchester United.

Sir Alex Ferguson, who was their manager for 26 seasons, retired at the end of last season. David Moyes, an experienced, proven manager, and Ferguson’s chosen successor, joined them soon afterwards.

The club is one of the most successful and valuable franchises in sports – anywhere. During Ferguson’s reign, they won 13 English league titles and 25 other domestic and international trophies, almost double that of the next-most-successful English club.

Since Moyes has taken over, the team has struggled.

It isn’t really a strategy problem.

United’s lack of control in the mid-field and vulnerability to a quick break are more tactical than strategic. They have, more or less, the same players. But they don’t appear to be as creative, sharp or hungry for the win.

It’s more an issue of leadership and/or culture. But strategy, leadership and culture are inextricably connected.

Harvard Business Review recently published an article on “Ferguson’s Formula”, capturing 8 aspects of Sir Alex’s approach to leadership. Here are 3 that I think all business owners can use.

1.  Start With The Foundation That foundation is people development. He built depth by developing young players to replace his current stars. How many owners, executives or managers continuously develop replacements for their key people?

2.  Set High Standards – And Hold Everyone To Them Adversity made Ferguson determined never to give in and so one of his mantras is “If you give in once, you’ll do it twice.” He expected hard work and he led from the front. Yet he had confidence in the people he hired, trusting them to do their jobs and not micro-managing them.

3.  Never Stop Adapting The world of soccer changed dramatically while Ferguson was manager. He believes that you control change by accepting it and he focuses on 2 things. Understanding, even when you’re “at the top” that you can’t afford not to change. And exploring new, unproven ways of improving.

You can see the other 5 here. I’m off; I have a game to watch……

 

If you enjoyed this post you’ll also enjoy 3 Things That Shape A Good Strategy

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Tags: accountability, adapting, business owners, change, controlling change, Culture, execution, Jim Stewart, Leadership, People, people development, ProfitPATH, strategy

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