founder of naked leader


Time to Read – That’s it – Full Time

On Saturday 14 April, in Maidenhead, Woking FC were crowned champions of The Blue Square South, after winning the match one nil.

Oh – the highs, lows and lifting of personal baggage that are tied up in that single sentence.

So, what is the single biggest leadership lesson we can all learn from Garry Hill and Steve Thompson, our first team manager and coach, who have led the team to this extraordinary achievement?

Last week I wrote about discipline, and that has been very important, however for me the most important learning behaviour is this – focus.

Absolute laser focus

On preparation for every game – a focus on following a repeatable process.

On the game itself – what do we have to do, right now or next, to score more goals than they do?

And on the overall outcome of promotion.

Make sure everyone in your team knows where you are going – that is everyone, and the part they play in making it happen, each and every day. That includes having documented repeatable processes in place for the really key events in your organisation.

When you do, and you achieve your goal – this is how you will feel

With my thanks to Garry, Steve and everyone at Woking FC

And with my love and best wishes to you all
David X

Next week – how football superstitions can help you and your company.

13 Responses to Champions

  1. Thank you Alan and to all who have emailed and texted from all over the world – no, I take no credit for the promotion, I have and will continue to work tirelessly behind the scenes for the club I love. It’s just wonderful that we are back where we belong. David

  2. David and the team – congratulations once again. I am sure that all you mentioned above helped you to achieve the outcome. Didn’t simply “scoring more goals that the opposition” actually deliver the outcome?
    In business we can strategise to the nth degree, however gaining more customers, selling more goods and providing better service … within the right commercial framework is what you have to do. Nothing more, nothing less.

  3. Awesome.

    Congratulations to everyone at the club, and we can still be playing league football by 2013 – just one year behind schedule. 😉

    May I take this opportunity to say that David has played a tremendously important role at the club over the past 10+ years and he and Rosalind fully deserve to take tremendous credit for all the work they have put in.

    The success on the pitch this year has indeed been down to FOCUS, and everyone at the club – players, management, directors, staff, and supporters have all been focused on and wholeheartedly committed to the same goals.

    More than anything it is the synergy of this cumulative focus that has resulted in our success, and there is no doubt that David – humble as he is – fully deserves our thanks.

  4. Management in football is different to other businesses as no matter what a manager says to his players, it all comes down to those on the field.
    If you have better players, you will win more often than not.
    Better players cost money and if is not within the club’s structure to be able to afford good players the manager normally will dip into his own pocket rather than risk his reputation in the game.
    So focus, yes, score more goals than the opposition, yes, but also have better players and a manager prepared to do anything to make sure he gets them.

  5. Congrats on taking Woking up David. I’m sure yours was a positive influence in the dressing room and that can have a huge affect. It is everybody involved who needs to take credit. You included.

  6. The primary force of this championship-winning season is certainly not budget, and if you think football is all down to the players then you would be wildly mistaken.

    Let me explain…

    On 17 January 2010 Graham Baker departed as manager of Woking Football Club. At that time Woking were 11th in the table, the fans were disheartened and consistently bemoaned the lack of spirit on the field. Morale was low and Graham would consistently blame a LACK of budget on the team’s underachieving. Under Graham that season Woking had taken just 28 points from 21 games.

    Garry Hill came in on 20 January and lost his first game in charge – a transition game, if you will. Then, with EXACTLY THE SAME PLAYERS AND BUDGET he took the Cards on a storming run of eleven wins and a draw in their next twelve games, taking 34 points out of a possible 36.

    By 30 April – the last day of the season – Woking had risen from mid-table obscurity to winning a place in the playoffs by taking a magnificent 48 points from 21 games – including the first loss. Our goal difference had gone from 0 to +20 and morale was sky high.

    We all know what Garry’s done this year, and I’m telling you now – we wouldn’t be having this same conversation if Graham was still in charge. Not a chance! We all know that volumes could be written on the amount of individual talent and lack of team success in the England national side over that last ten years.

    Players’ abilities change little, but a leader’s ability to bring that ability out of his players – in the dressing room or the boardroom – is the difference that makes the difference.

  7. If a manager leaves and a new manager gets more out them then that says to me that the players were cheating and taking their money under false pretenses.
    It smacks of players raising their game for the big occasion, when they feel like it.
    And while a points haul of that magnitude was good, let’s not get carried away with the standard of opposition in that division which is generally poor by common consensus.
    Hill is a top class manager, although it is interesting to see the fate of other clubs after he left. Weymouth, Hornchurch and Rushden & Diamonds are three that spring to mind as clubs who have since gone bust, or in one case out of business. I’m not in any way attributing their demise to Garry Hill as I have no idea what went wrong at those clubs and why they hit financial difficulties. But budget is important, in sport and in business.
    I enjoyed your point of view, Tom. We all have opinions and I respect yours. I sincerely hope that Woking thrive back in the big time which is where they, and David for all his invaluable work at the club, belong. A club of that size deserves success and it will be interesting to see how they fare in the Premier which has got stronger, in my opinion, since Woking were last there. I’m sure with such a huge backing, excellent backroom staff, a great management team, and superb players, they will prosper. Congratulations again David.

  8. Congratulations to Woking. To beat Maidenhead in such circumstances on the last day, who have been superb I believe under a former great, Derek Brown, although not quite in their zone this season I understand, was a great achievement in itself.

  9. I read an article in the paper today and McNuff, the Reading FC midfielder was giving his view on his team-mates, as well as manager Brian McDermott.
    ‘All I can say about the manager is that he lets us get on with our jobs, where other managers might interfere. He trusts us.’
    That says a lot and is pertinent to the above debate.
    What better way to delegate than to let your players go out and do their thing? If they are good enough players they will prevail. As a manager, McDermott realises that.

  10. David,

    FANTASTIC news mate, hope you are well. I am now leading the line at Skanska now.

    Take Care Steve

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