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The Foxes are outfoxing all opponents, and here's why

A great manager makes the difference between winning and losing

David Sneed //April 21, 2016//

The Foxes are outfoxing all opponents, and here's why

A great manager makes the difference between winning and losing

David Sneed //April 21, 2016//

In 1980, we watched the greatest moment in American sports live on television and we called it the “Miracle on Ice. That’s when the U.S. Men’s hockey team beat the Soviets on their way to winning gold at the Winter Olympics. The odds of this happening were 1000 to 1.

One year ago, the Foxes of Leicester City (UK) were on their way out of the top soccer league, about to be relegated to a junior division because they couldn’t win. Odds of their returning to the Premier League this year and winning the title were a staggering 5000 to 1. Those are the same odds given by one bookmaker of Elvis being discovered alive and well.

But Leicester City is doing it; these very same players who had trouble winning at all last season are on track to beat everyone this year, including the Manchesters, Chelseas and Liverpools you’ve probably heard of.

How are The Foxes winning? That’s the big question. Talent, for one, yes; they have some talented players. But most insiders say their talent was never enough to be relevant, much less lead the league with four games to go. The real answer to why they are winning is employee management.

We people-managers say the word teamwork a lot, and we take ourselves pretty seriously when we do. I wonder how many times we think about our own management skills when we do. Usually, we think about what THEY can do; not what WE can do.

By all accounts, Leicester City are playing out of their skins because their new manager is getting maximum performance from each of his players. With this manager (and hard work,) this team of unknowns is becoming great.

And they do work very hard. They run more than the other teams, and they never quit.  More than that though, they vacation together, they eat together, they play together — and they have been coached into this attitude by their new manager. He has created their culture of teamwork and passed it down from the top.

How adequate is that one company picnic a year looking now?

So at your next staff meeting, be sure to tell everyone how much you prize teamwork, but understand that it is your job to make it happen. Do you have each player filling the role he’s most suited for? On Leicester City’s football team, they are.

Are your players being specifically coached to make their unique abilities fit better into your game plan? On Leicester City’s football team, they are.

Do you even have a game plan? And are the players aware of it? Claudio Raniere, the LC manager has a specific plan for every game. He understands his players’ abilities and crafts opportunities for them to excel.  Then, he tells them each what he expects individually and how their cog fits in with all the other cogs.

In most businesses, the manager is so busy making reports that he barely knows his players, let alone what problems they have that keep them from running at top speed. Using the word teamwork means you need to think of them as players, and you should know more about them than what time they walked through the door this morning. Manager is an active title, not a passive one.

So if you want to use the word “teamwork,” that’s great. But are you building a cohesive unit that works together; one that picks up the slack when someone else is caught out of position? The Foxes do that, and they are about to become legend. At 5000 to 1, Leicester City of 2015/16 will become the eternal metaphor for good management turning average people into great people. Emulate that.