Management the “Sir Alex” Way

Whilst I am not an avid football fan, the recent news that Sir Alex Ferguson has retired, was not only headline news in the sports pages but also in many business journals.

Whatever your opinion of him, he certainly had a leadership style which led to success for Manchester United over a number of years. Is there anything we can learn from his leadership style which would be appropriate for a small business to adopt? I certainly believe that we can all learn a lesson from him.
Here are my top three:

1: Always have the highest standards:
Whatever you do in business always work to the highest standards. This promotes confidence in your clients and will gain you a reputation for being a strong business person with strong values. Yes, Sir Alex was often criticised for his values however he always stuck to them. Remember everyone has different standards so won’t always agree with yours. However the right people, colleagues and clients will be drawn to you and in the long term, business relationships will be stronger and higher quality for it. These will see you through the hard times.

2: Be passionate:
Passion for your business is a huge contributor to its success. Who looks forward to doing something they dislike? Sir Alex was always passionate about the sport and this came through game after game. People will see your passion and be drawn to you. I am not saying it’s the only factor for a successful business but it certainly helps. What your passion? Are you fulfilling it?

3: Never, Never, NEVER give up:
As Winston Churchill famously said, never give up. No matter what adversity Sir Alex had in his path, he stayed strong. He made decisions filled with certainty and surrounded himself with a strong team for support. He didn’t lose match after match in a row and go home and resign. He weathered the storm and took action. In business, it is easy to listen to the voices and opinion of doubt. It’s easy to just give up and go home. Being in business isn’t always easy but sticking with it is worth it in the long run.

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