Whilst using a football analogy in my last blog post my mind began to explore (wander) to a conversation I had with my 86 year old Nan last week. Being avid Arsenal fans we were discussing the season and the current transfer/manager change news.
As we discussed being the only team to beat the Premiership Champions in both games last season, and the only team to beat them in 2016, we started looking at their run to the title. I noticed something that I thought fitted well into a post about team performance and what success looks like.
The Leicester City team returned to the premiership at the start of the 2014/15 season for the first time in 11 years. Having spent several seasons in not only the Championship but also a short spell in League 1 in 2008.
At the end of the 2015/16 season they were crown Premiership Champions.
It was a great turn around in fate following the appointment of a new manager. The result was the largest payout in British Sporting History as £25m of winnings were claimed from the bookies.
So how did they get there? And what on earth has that got to do with Business?
In October 2002, the club went into administration with debts of £30 million. The £37 million cost of the new stadium contributed heavily to this. Unfortunately so did several budgeting errors and loss of predicted income. TV based income didn’t appear as a third party went into administration (ITV Digital). An apparently unpredictable large wage bill and lower than expected fees for players transferred to other clubs also contributed.
When comparing this situation to a private organisation, those at the top would likely be replaced and massive cut backs and restructuring proposed. A failure on the part of those in charge would likely bring about negative publicity for the brand. These are the kind of issues that can cause an organisation to fail.
In going through the same processes as any other business in administration, Leicester City were saved the same fate as Woolworths and now BHS due to a buy-out. This came through loyalty to a team supported throughout his life, as Gary Lineker drove a consortium to save the day.
Without that same loyalty in commercial organisations many businesses suffering the same fate never make a return. The public perception of an organisation cannot be undervalued.
Their rise to the title this season appeared to come from nowhere and was hailed by some as an amazing feat. However when you drill down into the details it shows a rather less wizardry accomplishment.
Leicester’s team sat on the crest of a wave for the season – but a very lucky one. According to Premier Injuries Ltd, they specifically had only 11 reported injuries keeping players out of the game. Only 4 of which lasted over 10 days. In comparison Arsenal finished in second and had 24 injuries, 11 of which lasted more than 10 days. Resulting in 115 days lost through injury for Leicester compared to 312 at Arsenal.
When comparing this to a commercial organisation, there are clear comparisons when businesses have staff out due to sickness absence. The impact that has on the ability to perform well and the workloads of other staff can reduce productivity and performance. Ultimately impacting on profitability.
A business that has low levels of sickness, or other, absence has a fully functioning workforce that can lead to a successful year.
Additionally when looking into the season stats, we can see that it was the consistency of Leicester’s approach, rather than spectacular wins, week in week out that saw them lift the trophy. Consider their game statistics:
- 23 Games won
- 19 of those wins were by 2 or less goals,
- 14 wins by only 1 goal
- 12 draws
Leicester didn’t suddenly have the best players in the world. There were no spectacular 6-0 wins. They just utilised the players in a way that slowly, game by game, they earned their title. Success to them was each win or draw, with the realities of relegation being part of their recent history, they took it step by step.
Sometimes we set out in business with the ultimate end game in mind. That big goal that we see as ‘success’. And sometimes that is what can cause a business to attempt to run before it can walk. But perhaps we need to look at the ground in front of us with an eye on the final prize. Take each success as it comes and appreciate it.
So with a low injury season, a new manager and a northerly wind, Leicester carried out a feat that wasn’t even considered at the beginning of the season. In fact Gary Lineker promised to present Match of the Day in September in his underwear if they won the league.
Looking back at Leicester’s fall from grace, that lead to them going into administration, there are clear steps the management could have taken to prevent it. And the rise came from not expecting too much, taking each small step at a time. Rising from out of nowhere to reach not only the title but Champions League football for the first time.
No business is immune, but taking each success step by step, re-evaluting as you, can help you achieve that big goal. This story really does show that there’s nothing to stop the underdog becoming a champion.
Are you concerned about your business success? Do you struggle to focus on the small achievements? NJD People Consulting can help you develop structured plans to develop your business through your people.