Listening to the radio over the weekend to the sports commentators and pundits, I was struck by their seeming dependence on generating controversy, (sometimes where none exist). Many of their words were devoted to the imminent termination of football managers tenures. Nothing new there you will say. Only a handful of managers in the top four leagues of English Football, have had their current job for more than 3 years.
But the weekend did see such a departure, that of Karl Robinson from League 1 MK Dons. The erstwhile youngest League Manager leaves after six and half years in charge at Milton Keynes. Poor results cited as the reason.
In sport as in business, what comparisons with a business management system can we learn from this.
Rightly or wrongly, in the Role of Chairman, Pete Winkelman had to demonstrate his Responsibility as Leader. In his mind, Measurement of the results this season led him; and Robinson, in their Analysis, to conclude that Corrective Action was needed. A Change of manager was required.
Of course, many column inches have been written by disappointed supporters over recent months about results on social media. Customer satisfaction has been low, and although the decision may not have been influenced by this group, they are an Interested Party who’s voice will have at least been heard.
There are undoubted Risks and Opportunities in a key member of the management leaving. Winkleman had to weight up the risks to the success of the team by persisting with Robinson, against both the Risk and Opportunities of a change.
Were results down to Competence of the manager, or were there other factors at play. Has the investment in players ie the Resources, the Training, and the Working Environment at the club been adequate. Certainly, the Infrastructure has been developed over time.
Robinson leaves the organisation with much intelligence about the club, its Operation and players. In business known as Organisational Knowledge, how much of this will be lost. With assistant manager Richie Barker appointed in an interim role, some of this organisational knowledge has been retained and he will now follow through on any Plans in the short term.
And who comes next. In the days leading up to the departure, had the Board considered or even planned for a replacement. Has any Successional Planning taken place as part of the Change Management.
So, in his exit interview, did Robinson discuss his longer term plans for the club from an on field perspective. Has a Management Review taken place as to how the club will go forward and who and how it will be managed.
In his mind, Winkelman will have no doubt set his own Objectives for the club and its Success going forward. He will need to Communicate to his new management about his aspirations and direction for the club, and how they align with on field Performance. Awareness of these aspirations will need communicating to the supporters too as a key Interested Party.
Where will the club be in 3 months, and at the end of the season. Chasing promotion, stagnant in mid table or fighting for survival. None of us know for sure, but if a business management system is followed, a few should have a good idea.