A: What’s the topic today then?

B: Well I’ve been looking at football management as it applies to business management.
A: Fascinating.
B: No really. It’s a well known fact that top football players never make top managers.
A: Well known by….
B: Everyone, of course.
A: What about Mark Hughes, Jack Charlton, Jurgen Klinsmann, Marco van Basten, John Toshack…
B: John Toshack?
A: Sorry, but the others?
B: There will be exceptions, of course, but generally it seems to be true.
A: Does this work for other sports?
B: It certainly does – Tiger Woods’ coaches for instance – Hank Haney and Butch Harmon – OK players. Head coach of American Football Superbowl winner – OK player. Should I carry on?
A: Please don’t. So the point of this then would be – if you want to be a manager don’t try too hard as a player?
B: You could interpret it as that I suppose. I’d prefer to think of it as having a second chance if you make a mess of your first career.
A: A bit like you.
B: Exactly.
A: How would this work in relation to business though?
B: Umm…
A: It wouldn’t really would it? You wouldn’t get promoted to a position where you managed people because you were rubbish at your job?
B: You think not? I’ve worked in the Civil Service you know.
A: I know but in real life, it just wouldn’t happen.
B: Think about this as a specialism though. Football is a kind of specialism.
A: So in IM there are people who are better managers than programmers, for instance.
B: That’s true.
A: So how would they get promoted to the managers’ job?
B: Be not being a good programmer and taking a cut in salary.
A: Which happens a lot.
B: No. What happens is that you promote the best programmer.
A: And…
B: Take them out of the job they are good at.
A: And ..
B: Put them in charge of people.
A: With no management training?
B: Usually.
A: And then…
B: Wait for them to make a mess of things, upset the team or leave with stress.
A: Thereby losing your best programmer, annoying the team and still having no manager.
B: So then you bring in a manager from another business area.
A: With no knowledge of IM?
B: Exactly.
A: And their job would be to annoy any of the team that were left because they feel they should get the job or at least be managed by someone who had some idea of their job.
B: You’ve got it. Think Southampton. Think Clive Woodward.
A: Sir Clive.
B: Of course. Sir Clive Sinclair…. I mean Woodward.
A: They’re twins I believe.


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