We could be about to witness one of the most famous sporting upsets of all time (really) as small provincial club Leicester City – who last year were battling relegation – find themselves top of the Premier League going into the final few weeks of the season.
We believe businesses and organisations across the country could learn from what Leicester City have achieved this season – even if they don’t go on to win the Premier League – here’s how:
Focus on smart recruitment
Leicester are credited with having a fantastic scouting network who find unknown players for knock down prices and develop them into top players. The most notable examples of this are Jamie Vardy – who was bought from non-league Fleetwood Town – and Riyad Mahrez who came from the French second division. These two players who have been the stars of this Premier League this season.
As a small business, sometimes it can be a good idea to go off the beaten track and hire people with different experiences and qualities. Having employees with differing skills and attributes will help encourage a collaborative and innovative culture in your business.
Don’t always follow the trends – play to your strengths
Leicester are a rarity in the Premier League in that their team plays with a 4-4-2 formation – not a common line-up these days. They also don’t hold on to the ball for long periods of time, instead they utilise their lightning speed on the attack. The Foxes focus on what makes them effective instead of copying the competition.
As a business, instead of following trends, work out what you are good at and concentrate all your energy on that. The results could be spectacular.
Short term targets help achieve long term goals
From the start of the season manager Claudio Ranieri never set his team improbable targets. All he was thinking about was his team hitting the 40 point mark – the points tally that usually ensures a team is guaranteed not to be relegated. After this the target changed to qualifying for European football. The team were never overburdened with high expectations.
As a business it is wise to set realistic goals for your team. By setting smaller goals you are ensuring that your team can work towards something doable. And if they manage to exceed your expectations you will be confident in raising the bar even higher. If you set a goal too high your team might feel that they were expected to do too much, or didn’t have the best resources to help them fulfill the expectations. It’s important to be ambitious but it has to be within the parameters of what you and your team are realistically capable of.
Reward your staff when they deserve it
Last October, when the season was in its infancy, manager Claudio Ranieri treated his players to pizzas at a local restaurant as a reward for not conceding a goal for the first time in the season. He went on to say, somewhat confusingly, “it’s the team spirit and they enjoy training. They know they can work hard and enjoy. A little bit of luck is important. Luck is the salt, the fans are the tomato – with no tomato there is no pizza.”
It’s this personal touch which has proved so successful for the team (and fans) – this can be a template for any company trying to create a happy team environment.
A work life balance can create better performances
Ranieri clearly acknowledges the importance of rest and turning off from work to recharge batteries. “I make sure the players have at least two days off from football each week. This is the pact I made with the players on the first day: I trust you. I’ll explain a little football ideas every now and then, as long as you give me everything.”
Sometimes a relaxed approach can be very beneficial to workers. It’s important to realise that even if you have big goals, your team need their own time too.
What Leicester City have achieved so far this season has been unbelievable and not just on a sporting level – it should serve as inspiration to any person or business who wants to achieve great things. So follow the example of Leicester City and maybe your business too could exceed expectations.
Are you interested in reading similar blogs about small business? Take a look here for more from our dedicated small business blog.