Our brave boys

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

So – after the pain and frustration (but – admit it – not  that much surprise) the inquest has already started.

The usual suspects:

  • Effort
    • Our players are tired because they play too many games
    • Everyone else’s players have a better attitude – ours are all pampered millionaires who don’t care enough
  • Ability
    • Everyone else’s players are more skilful than ours
    • Too many foreign players in the Premiership means our brave boys don’t get a look-in
    • Not enough of the TV money makes its way down to boys’ football
    • We don’t have enough effective coaches at any level
  • Psychology
    • No team cohesion – our players spend all day with headphones on playing computer games instead of bonding together
    • There is some kind of national malaise that makes English teams go to pieces in important matches
  • Management
    • Our manager picked the wrong team from the wrong squad
    • Our manager chose the wrong tactics for the match(es)
    • Our players didn’t follow the manager’s instructions
    • Lack of leadership on the field

I don’t know much about football.  I watch quite a bit of it, played Sunday League when I was younger and managed one of my sons’ teams for a while.  I do know a bit about general management though.  Anyway, on the basis that I could have achieved as much competitive success as the last half-dozen England managers for a good deal less money here is my analysis…

  • Effort
    • I didn’t see a single English player who was not working his heart out – in any game, at any time
    • I did not see any English player who was not distraught and humiliated at the end of the Iceland game
  • Ability
    • If you use combined weekly salary or average league played in as an analogue for ability we may not be the absolute top squad but we will be up there. A lot of people who pay these players huge wages are complete knobs, but not all of them
    • We went out to Iceland. That’s Iceland.
  • Psychology
    • I have no knowledge of what players do in practice or downtime but the England setup must be full of sports psychologists who know loads about this sort of stuff – and every other national team is made up of the same sort of young men who grew up at the same time and have the same distractions
    • We can win (sometimes) at rugby and cricket and rowing and so on so I’m not sure why football in particular should lead to a kind of collective mental breakdown on the pitch (apart from the fact that it’s much more important than other sports, of course)
    • Success breeds team spirit and belief breeds success – we now expect disaster in every crucial game
  • Management
    • It will be that then.

So – following that incisive analysis – some basic principles that you can apply to your business (or if you are in the running, the England manager’s job):

  1. Pick people who work well and get on well as a team – not just all the brightest stars;
  2. Make sure the team includes a born leader – even if they aren’t the most able player in their position;
  3. Keep the strategy simple and keep it the same – make the competition fight on your terms;
  4. Communicate the strategy relentlessly, reinforcing it with stories after every victory and every defeat;
  5. Keep things stable and predictable and repeat what works. Don’t waste effort and confuse people by experimenting or planning for things that probably won’t happen

If, before our first World Cup qualifier, you’d like to learn a little more about a different approach to running your business then why not register for this event.

Connect with Nick Bettes Consulting

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *