Home' HR Monthly : March 2016 Contents March 2016 HRMonthly 49
Love him or loathe him, Sir Alex
Ferguson has some invaluable
lessons on how to coax the best
out of a team.
BY RILEY MORGAN
No matter how outgoing
or sociable you are,
networking events and
conferences can be a
challenge. Sure, you
can research attendants
in advance, but that's
a huge chunk of time
wasted on finding one or
two people in a crowd.
Wildcard promises to
help with that. At events,
work drinks or even the
airport, the app shows
you a 'deck of cards' of
other users who are in
the vicinity. Users get a
small snapshot of each
job title, place of
of expertise and even
Users can then decide
if they want to exchange
contact details or meet
in person. Don't think
someone will add to your
network? No worries!
Contact details are only
exchanged when both
parties swipe right. If this
sounds like Tinder with a
professional twist, you're
not far off the mark. The
app will even suggest
starters to break the
ice, in case anyone gets
"This is not an attempt at false modesty, but
sometimes I think that, with the teams and players
I had at my disposal, we should have done more."
Sir Alex Ferguson, arguably the most successful
football manager of his generation, wonders aloud
if he truly deserves the adulation of the Old Trafford
faithful. Leading is a surprisingly humble, anecdote-
filled guide on how he coaxed the best out of a
young group of men with the world at their feet.
Ferguson has already shone a light on his
glittering 38-year career in management in his
autobiography. Leading is about the skills and
insights that turned him from a manager who
thought he knew it all, into an extraordinary leader.
Being open to lifelong learning is key, says
Ferguson who draws parallels between teachers and
football managers. "Perhaps the most important
element ... is to inspire a group of people to perform
at their very best." The former Red Devils manager
says listening and watching was part of his armory.
For someone as opinionated as Ferguson this
comes as unexpected. But many football fans who
attended training sessions will recall how he cut
a silent, solemn figure on the training ground,
his beady eyes following the ball and the players.
Ferguson credits his assistant Archie Knox with his
most valuable lesson.
"Until Archie gave me a finger wagging, I had
not really understood that, as a manager, I was in
danger of losing myself to the details."
Those listening and watching skills were used to
good effect on occasions, such as when he joined
the players for a post-match ice bath after a fraught
game against Leeds United in 1992. The players
were raving about the abilities of one opponent,
Eric Cantona. By the end of the year, Ferguson had
signed him for the club.
But it wasn't the big stars who were lavished
with Ferguson's special attention he claims, but the
newer, younger members of the squad. In a lesson
here for any manager, Ferguson says: "If I were
running a company, I would always want to listen
to the thoughts of its most talented youngsters,
because they are the people most in touch with the
realities of today and the prospects for tomorrow."
Ferguson says for a company to maintain a high
level of performance over an extended period, they
must develop youngsters, invest in technology and
good working conditions and provide the pathways
Knowing when to step back and when to take
control is also crucial. He recalls a high-stakes game
at Liverpool FC in 1972 when he met the great Bill
Shankly. Talking before the game, Ferguson asked
the Liverpool manager if he shouldn't be with his
team, instead. Shankly responded, "Son, if I've got
to be with my players for the deciding game of the
season, there's something wrong with them."
Perhaps Ferguson's greatest accolade is that he
didn't just manage one great set of players, but
several; and each time, he got them working as a
team. "We needed to change with the times, so
we did, and this occurred on a regular four-year
cycle," he says. "Every member of a team has got
to understand that they are part of a jigsaw puzzle.
If you remove one piece, the picture doesn't look
right... no one at the club ever wins a thing without
by Alex Ferguson with Michael Moritz
HODDER & STOUGHTON, $33
Links Archive February 2016 April 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page