(David Gill, former CEO of Manchester United)
Coach Alex Ferguson is one of the greatest coaches in football history, and he doesn’t get this rating just for his winnings.
The strategies he wrote to lead the team to the championship are still being talked about.
This is because it inspires not only football managers but also leaders around the world. After all, it has transformed the entire club of Manchester United into a single company beyond the soccer team.
Crisis in an organization full of career jobs
Ferguson joined United in 1986. The situation at the time was terrible. We were on the verge of being demoted to the second division, and the first thing Ferguson did to solve this problem was to figure out what was the problem because we need to figure out exactly what is the problem and analyze it to come up with the right solution.
First, we figured out the ages of the players. Ferguson divides the players into three groups.
(1) Under 23 years old
(2) 23 to 30 years old
(3) 30 years old or older
The three groups should be able to breathe in harmony. But when Ferguson took over, there was only one Manchester United under the age of 24.
Compared to the job market, it is a company full of experienced people. This approach may pay off right away, but there are limits to sustained growth.
To solve this problem, Ferguson reworked the youth soccer team.
Discovering and nurturing prospects who prepare for the future
First, I gathered several scouts. I ordered them to bring in the best young talent.
Famous players brought at this time include David Beckham, Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, and Paul Scholes. They are the protagonists of the 98/99 season’s treble, and the biggest change is communication. Since his youth, he has shared his philosophy.
This allowed the player to naturally melt into his team when he climbed into the 1st squad. Also, I always listened to the thoughts of young players. “If I run a company, I will always listen to the thoughts of young people.”
“Because they are the people who know the reality of today and the prospects of tomorrow.”
Ferguson is said to have always reviewed the youth soccer team first when signing a player.
That’s why two-thirds of Manchester United players can be replenished in youth soccer teams.
For more than 20 years, Ferguson has continued to rebuild a bold team by constantly emphasizing the harmony between the old and the new.
He has a preconceived notion that when he says he is an older leader in scientific decision-making rather than experience, he will push decision-making based on his own experience.
But Ferguson tried to make decisions based on systems and data because he brought football into the realm of science. To do this, Ferguson first hired a sports scientist within the club.
He was trying to manage the players through scientific analysis. He was the first to introduce a GPS training vest as well. He’s trying to data and analyze the players’ movements.
Flexible talent management that induces self-development
From the mid-1990s, a competition system was introduced. Two to three players competed for each goalkeeper, attacker, and defender position. At that time, most soccer teams used players in a clear distinction between starting and non-starting.
Ferguson doesn’t make this distinction, and every time he has a new roster. He says it rotates.
“I think the pros are responsible for what they say on social media.”
“I’d rather go to the library and read a book. I mean it. That’s a waste of time.”
I look carefully at each one. We figured out what situations each player was passionate about and applied them to the game. They discovered and nurtured players through observation.
Even after that, he tried to figure out even the smallest changes in the player.
They also tried to capture and guide their self-esteem or passion.
The players called him a hair dryer’.
It’s because when the game doesn’t go down or the players get lazy, his hair screams out loud. This wasn’t just to blame the player.
Because different people get hairdryers differently. One day, he was caught yelling at a player and then turning around and laughing.
This shows that he strategically used the hairdryer for player control.
Players refer to Ferguson as “a man like a father.” Ferguson puts players into the competition system and sometimes yells strongly.
Still, he is showing respect enough to call him father.
This can be attributed to Ferguson’s superb leadership.
Super leadership is member-centered leadership.
We create conditions so that members can self-lead.
It refers to leading everyone to the organization’s goal orientation.
Ferguson made the players themselves lead with a competitive system.
He taught each player differently to help them manage their situation effectively.
Super leadership is more effective when a group of highly skilled people is gathered.
There, the more organizations each have different roles, the more it shines.
To this end, it created an environment in which players self-lead and showed super leadership that suggested the direction of the big framework for them to go forward.
Ferguson’s strategy is as follows.
(1) Fostering prospects
(2) Data-driven decision making
(3) Flexible human resource management
(4) Super Leadership
Through this strategy, United has created more than just a soccer team. As I searched for his data, it was once again an opportunity to feel how much the leader’s management style can grow the organization.
In particular, it was impressive that veterans were contemplating systems and data, unlike their obsession with know-how and experience.
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