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How insightful ‘Team Management’ scored on the football field
Football, the world’s most passionate sport, is an amalgamation of blood, sweat and tears achieved
through the highest standards of discipline, team spirit and tactical management, served to a fanatically
hungry fan gathering. Many a success story has been written through a dramatic turn-around of a losing
battle into a thumping victory through sheer team spirit, tactical insight, and a well-defined strategy!
Like in all management related issues, there has to be a single-minded devotion to a cause: building a
football club, starting right from the bottom. This means creating fluency and a continuity of supply to
the first team. So that the players all grow up together, producing a bond that, in turn creates the spirit
of the team. Having the right focus, the confidence and conviction is making a brave beginning.
Strategy and Solution
Every large enterprise invests in developing employee skills, knowledge, and competence. Very few help
build and sustain capacity—energy—which is typically taken for granted. In fact, greater capacity makes
it possible to get more done in less time at a higher level of engagement and with greater levels of
Let’s take the role of team management in the football scenario.
Greece’s Euro 2004’s resounding win
A well-organized team where each player understands and plays his role to perfection can triumph
against all odds, as in Greece’s Euro 2004 win, where the odds were 80–1 at the beginning of the
tournament. The stunning victory shocked the world which still resounds with an air of surprise 10 years
on. This was a classic example of triumph for organization and determination over flair and fantasy,
Total Football – Rinus Michels
Total Football is the label given to an influential tactical theory of football . Rinus Michel’s refinement of
this inventive theory led him to build a disparate team into a winning block through an assimilation of
principles by every team member. In fact Michels wrote: "It is an art in itself to compose a starting team,
to find the balance between creative players and those with destructive powers and between defense,
construction and attack - never forgetting the quality of the opposition and the specific pressures of
each match." The key to Michels' concept was intelligent movement, understanding and fitness.
Manchester United-the meteoric rise
Sir Alex Ferguson, the man who guided Manchester United to about a million trophies took years to
build a great team and key stakeholders were fully invested in the rebuilding process. In 26 seasons,
Fergie transformed Manchester United into a team worth nearly $2 billion with literally hundreds of
millions of fans and built a success from scratch. Some of his pearls of wisdom were:
1. Sacrifice short-term pain for long-term gain
Ferguson wanted to build a team from the bottom up so that all players grow up together, producing a
bond that, in turn, creates a spirit. Winning a game is only a short-term gain - you can lose the next
game," he said. "Building a club brings stability and consistency.
2. Don't be afraid to rebuild
Ferguson believed a team needed refreshing every three or four years, and he wasn't afraid to cut
players unexpectedly. Even if an older player lost a little zing, he would ditch even the most loyal
clubman. That's how important success was.
3. Set the bar high
Do not settle for any half-hearted effort."Every training session was about quality. We didn't allow a lack
of focus. It was about intensity, concentration, speed - a high level of performance.”
4. Let them know who is boss
Sir Alex was well aware that he was dealing with 30 egotistical millionaires. But never did he ever let
them step out of line and disrupt the power balance.
6. Take risks
Ferguson was prepared to take risks. If he was 1:2 down, he didn't care if he lost 1:3. He would rather
throw caution to the wind and bring on an extra attacker.
7. Take a step back
You often read about people who put "learn to delegate" at the top of their lists of corporate wisdom,
Sir Alex is a leader who learned the importance of that lesson. He was able to become not just a football
manager but a man manager.
8. Don't be scared of change
He got the team into yoga before that was fashionable. He insisted on the best training facilities and
always sought new ways to improve his team.
The 2005 UEFA Champions League Final
Here was another fine point made in history to prove that teams can battle adversity effectively when
they have great cohesion and camaraderie. The 2005 UEFA Champions League Final contested between
Liverpool ‘vs comeback Milan of Italy at the Atatürk Stadium in Istanbul, gave rise to the final being
known as the Miracle of Istanbul, and is regarded as one of the finest moments of the club's history for
the spirit of camaraderie displayed.
Outcome – Team Building
Team building is the process of turning a group of individuals into a cohesive team. Sadly, teams seem
to focus less on good management and more on the glamorous and exciting work of leadership. While
leaders may bring vision, inspiration and challenge, these things count for nothing without the efficient
implementation brought about by good management.
To be a great manager, an extensive set of skills are a pre-requisite– from planning/organizing and
delegating to communicating, motivating and maintaining discipline throughout the process.. Because
the skill set is so wide, it's tempting to build skills in the areas of management that one is already
comfortable with. But, for long-term success, it's wise to analyze skills in all areas of management –
especially recruiting, team effectiveness and coaching.