Istanbul, Again

Liverpool FC – Knocking out the favorites, since 2005.

There is an element of craziness involved if you are a Liverpool FC fan. You should always be prepared to get your mind go on a joy ride if it’s an European night at Anfield.

2-0 down, 3-1 down, but never down and out. LFC scored three unanswered goals within 30 minutes, and against a team that has best counter-attack in the world.

And this is what a good leadership can do.

So Long BR

The goodbye was imminent and it was just a matter of when. Sensing the opportunity to get back into top4 with a new manager, FSG pulled the plug. They are right somehow as without results, management can’t back decisions for long.
BR gave his best shot but unfortunately was not enough.

But will BR be remembered? Yes, because I know he did something extraordinary.

When fans with a great optimism line up to welcome their team like this , you know the team’s efforts have resonated with hopes of the fans.

Management Lessons learned from Liverpool’s Performance

Season 2014-15 started with a mixed bag of expectations for Brendan Rodgers’ men. Some were hopeful to see more of the style of play that took Liverpool close to BPL silverware last season. But many didn’t count them in for new season’s title challenge as BR’s ‘Death by Football’ style was expected to take a hit after Luis Suarez left to join the Catalans.

First three games of the season started with some promise but cracks started to appear after Tottenham away win. Daniel Sturridge got a knock in this match and that made him available for next few months.  This meant Reds lost both the strikers, who collectively scored around half of the 101 goals last season.

The low

After seeing the low of loosing 3-1 to Crystal Palace by throwing away one goal lead, LFC has come a long way. The signings are gelling well, clean sheets are getting frequent and the ‘marquee signing ‘ Balotelli is showing his commitment to Anfield.

Takeaways

As I see, the first half of the season presented some very important managerial lessons, particularly for senior management while working with second line of command.

1. Do not build team around a star

Instead build a team of performers with high predictability.

LFC’s last season was all about Suarez. His commitment and skills single-handedly tore down the opponents. BR gauged this before the season started and switched to 4-4-2 diamond formation, which suited Suarez’ playing style. Rest of the squad was trained to get maximum out of the diamond. This strategy gave BR great results, but as I thought, only till Suarez stayed.

Life after Suarez is classic example of the downside of building team around a star. None of the formations; 4-4-2 diamond,4-4-3 , 4-3-2-1; gave any results as team lacked the deft finish touches of the genius.

As an entrepreneur, if you have a business plan built around a star developer/analyst/designer than you should have a backup who can fill-in those shoes when needed.

2. Take chances

Seeing an exit from Champion’s league without registering a single win, fans wanted the obvious from the club owners FSG – sack Brendan Rodgers. But FSG chose to stick with Brendan keeping faith in his abilities. The trade paid off and LFC are now the only team that remains unbeaten in 2015.

3. Let managers PICK their teams and strategies

FSG gave BR a free hand to choose new players. Most of the those signings didn’t go well with the Football pundits. Seven months gone and what we see now  is a team that is working as a unit, giving outstanding results. You know that when the genius Jose Mourinho admits that Chelsea had a tough game in his post match interviews.

4. Choose managers who take accountability

Through out the rough patch, BR looked like a person who took responsibility of the bad results. These are the types of people who takes that extra mile to get good results from their teams. They never pass the buck.

5. Choose Motivators

Choose people who can motivate their teams even when things doesn’t goes fine. Even an highly skilled army can loose a battle if their commander lacks motivational skills.

BR did criticize his player when they didn’t perform well but he stood for them, even after loosing. After every loss, I saw a manager who was more determined to get things right and make his squad work harder in trainings.

Just like LFC, your teams might not be performing as expected but the only way to change that around is to take steps to change that around. Identify the people who can do that for you.

Image Credits: This is Anfield