3 lessons from Man U’s failed succession planning

Football is a game of goals. Scoring is the team’s key result area (KRA). Things like possession; kilometers covered, fouls committed, clinical passes completed, and a plethora of other factors are just details.

If you cannot score, you cannot win a match. Period.

And that is how Man U has become a shadow of its former self. These lads cannot score goals.

Watching yesterday’s champions’ league game left me disappointed in this team. Thank God that I ‘matured’ long time ago. I no longer bring personal feelings to football. There are still some fans not eating because their team lost. I hope they mature quickly too.

We learn three lessons from Man U’s poor performance this season:

Lesson 1: Don’t give someone to manage US $50,000 if they have never handled such kind of money in their life.

Stories of people who have run mad after winning a lottery abound. Too much money is a bad thing to someone who has never handled any.

And that is how Mr. David William Moyes found himself at the helm of something too big for his faculties.

His experience shows that he is a manager confortable in the middle or there about. He is more comfortable with below par performance. Before joining Man U, Moyes was contented at Everton which happens to have always oscillated among average teams – and never qualifying for the Champions league.

He is clearly not used to managing teams at the top level. And as they say “water will always find its own level in any container it is placed.” Moyes is slowly making Man U find its own level in any competition it is in.

In premiership, Man U is 6th on the table.  It is out of the FA Cup and Capital One cup. They may not survive in the Champions league (their yesterday’s play against Olympiacos F.C was horrible, which saw Man U concede 2 goals.) keep in mind that Olympiacos operates in Greece, a country said to have been under tight economic conditions!

As I see things, it will require too much for Man U to reverse these results. Something needs to be done and now. Man U should let go of Moyes asap. He is not confortable at the top. I am worried, he may never take the team there. The worst bit is having Man U out of the Champions league qualification next year. And this is probable to happen.

Lesson 2: Grow your talent from within

I have never seen any sovereign country get a foreigner to be President.  They only elect from within.

Great corporations like Toyota, Apple, Microsoft, China Mobile, Ford, etc grow and nature their own leaders from within.

This is indeed a model that works best. People who have grown within the ranks understand the company values and special characteristics that make the team tick. Such small, usually unwritten rules are often the building blocks that create cohesion and team success. A new leader from outside tends to undermine them which is why they fail flat to deliver the desired results – as they focus on restricting, firefighting and picking quick fights in search of quick wins. It does not work that way.

This is why when Facebook buys WhatsApp, one of the transaction conditions is that the founder and CEO must stay and work to continue growing the company.   Because the company is more or less a result of the founder’s insights and passion.

Sir Alex Fergusson was selfish to not pick from one of the folks he had worked with and helped mentor. I think that is a key failing on his part. How do you win treble; and retain a top spot in the local and international league and then go ahead to look for a successor from outside?

That is leadership failure on the part of the great Sir. Next time, groom your own leaders.

For the love of Man U FC.

Copyright  2014. Mustapha Mugisa CFE. All rights reserved.

About M. B. Mugisa

Mustapha Barnabas Mugisa is one of those rare people who provides business consulting and advisory to professionals and corporate entities who demand the very best. He is a prolific speaker and governance (strategy and risk) expert. His speaking involves making key notes at major conferences and business events on both technical subjects and leadership skills. A change agent and motivational speaker. Mustapha provides tools and proven methodologies to remarkable results through making people appreciate change. Visit Mustapha's LinkedIn profile to know more. Mustapha is the architect of #WinningMindset Leadership and #WinningTheGame strategy approach that combines Harvard Business strategy Playing To Win, with the Blue Ocean Strategy and Balanced Score Card to deliver a strategy that is easy to execute and monitor. Visit www.mustaphamugisa.com for special insights to improve your condition. Are you too good to be great?

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