In the third and final instalment of my blogs looking at the 2011/2012 season, I'm finishing with a group that in business/HR terms is often the most overlooked - those in mid-table. Whilst they are neither the stars (who often get either left to get on with it or developed up) nor the poor performers (who take up most of managements time day-to-day), this group can have a massive impact on what happens either side of them. In football they can cost a team the League, and at work they can either be developed up, slip down or do a great job where they are and influence/support others around them.
So, this season what have we learnt from them?
My three mid-table team lessons:
- 7th: Everton - They never let you down when it comes to showing integrity and fight. In a defining match (against Manchester United) they kept playing when they had little to play for, and possess a manager who just gets on with it. They usually finish mid table but always strive to improve year-on-year. In fact, this season they finished above their biggest rivals. Whilst they don't have headline grabbing stars they work like a tight unit, are consistent and dependable. Just like a team should be.
- 11th: Swansea – Swansea were great to watch and did not compromise their style which to me is how we should be about our values. A bit like Wolves once relegated (see part two) they performed with a degree of freedom because results were not critical - no one expected them to stay up anyway, so they played without fear. As such they finished above teams who were expected to do much better and were the highest placed Premiership newcomers. I'm informed by Ken Brown (a lifelong Swansea fan) that the club have strong principles about how they operate and about retaining talent. And in their young manager is the proof that it can work if youth (in years or experience) has good support and structures behind, above and around them.
- 15th: Wigan – From Wigan we learn never listen to the doubters and don’t be afraid to be David to the Goliaths. Wigan beat a number of top teams to beat the drop, and they went about their business quietly confident. Their manager remained calm and optimistic; and when there seemed to be trouble his boss dealt with it respectfully and behind the scenes, maintaining faith and support.
- Best Mid-table Manager(s)
Picking a boss from mid table – despite the number of them – was easy for me but only because I'm going for two! - Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez, both ones to watch for the future, especially as both are in the frame to replace Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool.
Question: Who is your business one to watch, and what are you doing to make sure they stay with you and rise to the top in good time?
And that’s it.
Roll on the Champions League (which may result in another footballing blog if Chelsea win!) and the European championship. And then, the Olympics before we kick off for more fun next season.
In terms of the Premiership 2011/2012 - They think it’s all over, It is now!