The right message
For a player - for any human being - there is nothing better than hearing "well done". Those are the best two words ever invented. - Sir Alex Ferguson
We could see Gareth Southgate openly demonstrating this last night. Every play that was substituted got a hug and a “well done” as they came off the pitch. It’s easily forgotten in business of any kind, especially when in the middle of a match, a business meeting, product launch or seasonally busy period.
Don't forget. Saying thanks and well done means so much to the recipient, the response in loyalty and production levels will speak for itself. Try it today.
The right way
As I’ve been discussing Sir Alex with others during this World Cup 2018 season, it seems some simply believe SAF ruled through fear. But, as his interview with the Harvard Business Review shows, his understanding of communication was key to his successful management career.
As a manager you play different roles at different times. Sometimes you have to be a doctor, or a teacher or a father. - Sir Alex Ferguson
This also applies to business. The most successful CEOs aren’t tyrants, they're really quite humble people. They understand the objective, they believe in the talents of the team to get there and they know that the happiness of the crew is vital to success.
In order that the team feel supported and valued, the delivery of the message has to be tailored to the occasion. A good CEO is sensitive to what’s going on in the lives of the team: who’s had a baby, who’s partner has been ill. These are life changing events, they're going to impact the team around them and it will change the way they hear what you say. For example, if they’re struggling with health issues, your priorities may not be aligned. At this point it is important to be more a supportive father or mother figure than a strict disciplinarian.
Put your work aside for a moment, put down your smartphone, and focus on the person standing in front of you. - Peter Economy
In order to do this successfully a good manager must know their team. This even goes for large businesses. Having more people on the team isn’t an excuse for not speaking to them. Do you know yours?
The winning attitude
I expected to win every time we went out there. - Sir Alex Ferguson
For SAF, winning was the only option. His coaches have talked about how they practiced winning in adverse conditions. Teams that Sir Alex managed often pulled results out of the bag at the last minute. A bit like last night – nail biting but successful! The habit-forming practice of penalties kicked in (sorry, I honestly typed that pun without thinking!), and got the result we wanted.
Also, as Columbia were huddled on England’s half, trying to psyche them out, England were in position ready to play extra time. In the same way that Sir Alex’s teams didn’t go into a huddle before a match – they knew what they were there to do and were ready to go out and do it.
In business, walking into the board room before a pitch with the confidence of a winner is vital. Communicating a new concept or process with authority is essential. And, last of all, if you know you’re losing the audience and they're not buying into the idea. Keep going. It isn’t over until it’s over.