What you can learn from Le­ices­ter City’s Win­ning Cul­ture

East African Business Week - - BUSINESS DIGEST - Pa­trick Led­din PH.D. linkedin.com

What one ESPN com­men­ta­tor re­cently called the “the most shock­ing un­der­dog story in mod­ern sports his­tory” took place in the English Premier League last sea­son.

Le­ices­ter City’s F.C., the Foxes, won the English Premier League. It was ar­guably the team’s big­gest win in its 132-year his­tory.

At the be­gin­ning of the sea­son, odds mak­ers placed the chances of Le­ices­ter win­ning the 20-team league cham­pi­onship at 5,000/1.

Ac­cord­ing to NBC Sports, Le­ices­ter stood a lower chance of win­ning the cham­pi­onship than:

The Cleve­land Browns win­ning the Su­per Bowl at 200/1 The Loch Ness Mon­ster be­ing dis­cover in 2016 at 250/1 The United States peo­ple elect­ing Kim Kar­dashian to be their next pres­i­dent at 1,000/1.

Re­gard­less of your feel­ings about foot­ball (or as we say where I’m from soc­cer), Le­ices­ter’s team, or sports in gen­eral, I sug­gest you take a few min­utes to learn about the cre­ation of a win­ning cul­ture.

In their book, The Ul­ti­mate Com­pet­i­tive Ad­van­tage, my friends and col­leagues, Shawn Moon and Sue Dathe-dou­glass, dis­cuss the im­por­tance of or­ga­ni­za­tional cul­ture. As ex­ec­u­tives at the Franklin­covey Com­pany, Moon, Dathe-dou­glass, and their col­leagues have spent over 30 years work­ing with the most suc­cess­ful lead­ers, teams, and or­ga­ni­za­tion through­out the world. In do­ing so, they’ve de­ter­mined that too many or­ga­ni­za­tions leave cre­at­ing their cul­ture to chance. Whereas great cul­tures have four com­mon char­ac­ter­is­tics.

1. In­ten­tion­ally de­signed

2. Es­tab­lished frame­work

3. Com­mon lan­guage

4. Leader-led

“Win­ning cul­tures are filled with su­perb peo­ple who de­liver as promised time af­ter time. They give you some­one and some­thing to trust. Win­ning cul­tures are unique, de­lib­er­ately de­signed and main­tained, and rare.” - Shawn Moon There are three com­po­nents to the frame­work of a great cul­ture. Al­low me to ex­plain each, dis­cuss Le­ices­ter City’s sit­u­a­tion, and in­vite you to an­swer ques­tions about your own unique cul­ture.

1. Ef­fec­tive Play­ers

Great cul­tures have ef­fec­tive play­ers or in­di­vid­ual em­ploy­ees. They are strong com­mu­ni­ca­tors, pos­sess needed ca­pa­bil­i­ties, un­der­stand the big pic­ture, work well with oth­ers, and posses a myr­iad of other de­sir­able traits.

One author­ity on the sport wrote this about the Le­ices­ter City ros­ter. “Maybe Le­ices­ter are an un­der­dog in the Premier League, where huge tele­vi­sion deals pro­vide money clubs in the rest of Europe, even in the Bun­desliga, sim­ply don’t have. Yet, on a grand scale, this team pos­sesses sig­nif­i­cant qual­ity.”

Con­sider your or­ga­ni­za­tion:

Do team mem­bers ef­fec­tively com­mu­ni­cate and col­lab­o­rate with one an­other? Do in­di­vid­u­als pos­sess needed skills and abil­i­ties? Does ev­ery­one un­der­stand how her or his role fits into the big pic­ture? What should you do to­day to help your em­ploy­ees im­prove in the above listed ar­eas?

2. Cred­i­ble Lead­ers

Lead­ers are key to the de­vel­op­ment of a suc­cess­ful cul­ture. Their abil­ity to in­spire trust, clar­ify pur­pose, align sys­tems, and un­leash tal­ent is crit­i­cal.

Le­ices­ter found such a leader in Clau­dio Ranieri. A for­mer Ital­ian player and man­ager, he was named Le­ices­ter City’s Man­ager in the sum­mer of 2015. In one year’s time, he took the team from near rel­e­ga­tion from the Premier Leagues ros­ter to win­ning the league cham­pi­onship. Along the way, he was name Premier League Man­ager of the Sea­son, LMA Man­ager of the Year, as well as, re­ceiv­ing the Grand Of­fi­cer the Ital­ian Or­der of Merit and the Enzo Bear­zot Award as best Ital­ian man­ager of the year.

Look­ing into Ranieri’s ca­reer, two things be­came ap­par­ent. First, Ranieri is a com­pe­tent coach. With a string of suc­cesses and near suc­cesses through­out his coach­ing life, Ranieri is not an overnight suc­cess. He’s put in the hard build his ca­pa­bil­i­ties and de­liver re­sults.

Sec­ond, he is a coach of high char­ac­ter who demon­strates in­tegrity and strong in­tent. This quote sums it up well. “With typ­i­cal good grace and a seem­ingly un­shak­able bond with his play­ers... [Ranieri] has set about prov­ing his crit­ics spec­tac­u­larly wrong.”

Con­sider your or­ga­ni­za­tion:

Do your lead­ers pos­sess the nec­es­sary char­ac­ter and com­pe­tence to in­spire trust? Do lead­ers work to clar­ity pur­pose, align sys­tems, and un­leash tal­ent? What should you do to­day to help your lead­ers im­prove in the above listed ar­eas?

3. Sys­tem of Fo­cus & Ex­e­cu­tion

Cred­i­ble lead­ers and ef­fec­tive play­ers are nec­es­sary to build­ing a win­ning cul­ture, but they can prove in­suf­fi­cient with­out an ef­fec­tive sys­tem of fo­cus and ex­e­cu­tion. There are plenty of high pay­ing ros­ters through­out the sports world with los­ing records.

If you lis­ten to Ranieri dis­cuss the team’s per­for­mance through­out the sea­son, he con­tin­u­ally points to no just win­ning cham­pi­onships, but to his team re­lent­less fo­cus on un­der­stand­ing each op­pos­ing team, how to best play against each team, and the im­por­tance of ex­e­cut­ing the plan with ex­cel­lence. Ac­cord­ing Ranieri, there is lit­tle room for Le­ices­ter City’s per­for­mance. While other teams win games by three of four goals, Ranieri’s vic­to­ries are often one point mar­gins. “We had to fight to win 1-0, so we must be fo­cused.”

Con­sider your or­ga­ni­za­tion:

Does ev­ery­one know the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s goals? Is ev­ery­one clear on how to best ac­com­plish the goals? Do they know their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties on the field? Do you keep track of progress and hold each other ac­count­able to com­mit­ments?

SU­PERB PEO­PLE: Win­ning cul­tures are filled with su­perb peo­ple who de­liver as promised time af­ter time. They give you some­one and some­thing to trust. Win­ning cul­tures are unique, de­lib­er­ately de­signed and main­tained, and rare.

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