This Summer, it will be seven long years since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson from Manchester United. During this period the team has secured only one senior trophy in the form of an FA cup win, a far cry from their glory years. However, I write this blog at a turning point for the world’s biggest football club, who are currently 10 games undefeated in all competitions. I write at a time where it is clear for all Manchester United fans that the team has turned a corner, and the players are delivering for their manager, club and purpose also known as “the Manchester United Way”!
What can businesses learn from these 7 long years, and why is purpose so important in motivating a team? Purpose is where employees work towards something bigger than themselves. Purpose is key and forms the 4th step of the “SalesAde 5 steps to Commercial Creativity”.
It comes as no surprise that it has taken a former Manchester United player who understands the clubs core values and purpose to reinvigorate the team and their performance. That former player is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has ignored all doubters and stood steadfast on the club’s purpose and belief in the Manchester United way .
What can businesses learn from the Manchester United Way and the importance of ‘purpose’?
- Purpose starts with great Leadership and is cascaded through the team and company
- Select your team carefully – ensure all team members buy into your vision and overall purpose
- Purpose is built on firm company foundations – to allow your team to proactively attack
- Purpose gives your company a competitive edge – through creativity and innovation
- Purpose ensures differentiation in the marketplace – delivering on customer expectations
- Purpose develops grit – to ensure your company can ride any challenging times
- Purpose enables marginal gains – ensuring an advantage over competition
- Purpose considers the future and long-term strategy – invest in your new recruits
- Some elements of purpose remain unwritten – but are clear for those who understand
Careful selection of your team is crucial. Don’t be afraid to share your company vision and core values during your recruitment process. The best way to motivate millionaires is to recruit the correct millionaires; those who play for something bigger than themselves; those who buy into your company vision, values and purpose will deliver. Don’t be afraid to release those that don’t see the bigger picture of purpose, regardless of their CV!
It is important not to sacrifice the company’s purpose for the short-term gain. Invest heavily in your new recruits and ensure they are aligned with you purpose; for they are the future of your company. When your team is aligned with purpose, motivation and productivity will be high.
Will the power of purpose help Manchester United contest the Premier league title next season? Is the Manchester United way enough, do the fans dare to believe again?