Let me say in the very first sentence of this piece that I am an unapologetic fan of Arsenal Football Club. Now that we’ve taken my bias out of the way let me tell you the fact that makes that club my model for sustained long-term success in a challenging and very competitive (business) League.
Of course we have to start by congratulating Leicester City Football Club on winning the Premier League in 2016. I saw a list of the clubs that have won the Premier League in the last 20 years and of course Manchester United dominated lots of those years under Sir Alex Ferguson, Chelsea was about the next dominant Force and then Arsenal and Manchester City.
In business, I will opt for the Arsenal model.
So many people who in life and in business prioritize winning; and by winning I mean at the very front, being the top most, the most successful, then probably Manchester United will be your cup of tea. However when I think in terms of success I see that 2013 and the end of the Ferguson era has been the last time United ever matched it’s performances of usually been the first or second in the league and they even dropped down to 7th at a time, I wonder.
Chelsea, powered by the very self confident Jose Murhino dominated the league for a while, but they are in mid table in this 2016 season.
Chelsea, powered by the very self confident Jose Murhino dominated the league for a while, but they are in mid table in this 2016 season. Manchester City is the new kid on the block, the jury is still out on the team that will be led by the world’s most expensive coach in the next season. Arsenal however has stayed between the 1st and 4th positions consistently for 20 years. In my technical field of quality assurance, we will say that it has been the club with the least process variation or the one with the most precision.
In business, I will opt for the Arsenal model. Not the boom and burst of Chelsea, unsecured leadership transition of Manchester United, and the sudden artificial financial boom that currently makes Manchester City a competitive club, let’s hope the oil price does not affect the Sheikh’s ability to pump money into the club..
Football aside, I choose the Pursuit of consistent, replicable, sustainable success over any kind of boom and burst wins. While the road to initial success in business is hard and actually breaks many, even at that stage (of starting and building) one needs to set up and position oneself for long-term success, such that 20, 30, 40 years from now, the business exists and and it’s sustained and perhaps has the potential to outlive its founders. When you are in it for such a long run as I am describing, you think differently, you plan differently, you seek long-term wins, long term relationships, sustainable business models. You may not be the first, but you will be at the top end of the game for a long long time.
Back to football, I am cross with Arsene Wenger, Arsenal need to be back winning the league.