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Newcastle United need to learn this Jose Mourinho lesson if they are to avoid relegation

10 months ago

Newcastle United face relegation.

Before the dam bursts, fast action is needed.

Here is a practical suggestion which Newcastle United could carry out now.

Having studied some of the best organisations here and in America, common across the very best is a belief that the people who know more about the organisation than anyone else and how to improve it, are its own staff.

In practical terms for United, this means gathering the collective untapped knowledge of the first team players.

With an experienced facilitator, it would take just one structured day for the players to express their beliefs concerning the essential qualities of a league topping team. The gap between where the squad is and where players would like to be would be obvious. Their top five essentials are unlikely to align with current management’s top five.

Assuming a management buy-in, the next step is to decide how the players’ findings can be achieved and then quickly get on with improvement.

While the players deliver their ideas, a supportive measurement system, or dashboard, must be produced to show the team, every day, how they are doing against their targets for improvement. In America in particular, companies on the way down have been turned around by this simple cyclical method of listen, improve and measure.

It didn’t take long in my studies to realise that if people are treated well, they will work well; if they are not, they don’t.

Unfortunately, there is every chance that some club owners have hanging on their office walls the old cliché ‘If you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow’.

If Mike Ashley does, the above would be difficult. But who knows? After years of conflict with owners and players and listening only to his own voice, Jose Mourinho has learnt the uncomplicated benefits of listening to others and brought them to Spurs with predictable results.

If the board is prepared to listen, accept what players have to say and translate their thoughts into action, a facilitator could be found in the local universities; or in someone with in-depth experience of proven management models such as EFQM. Other than a day’s football training, what is there to lose?

Joe Harvey was the manager when I became a United supporter. So after nearly a lifetime of frustration, looking forward to 3pm on a Saturday and dreading ninety minutes later, I hope the executive will act.

A later step is to do the same with supporters…..but one thing at a time.


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