Thursday, September 25

Ferguson’s Formula

One of my Hero's son. The man is a legend and here's his success in his own words. Fascinating. Small things but these are difficult to make sure they are done. 

Planning. Foresight. Thinking about what might happen and then ensuring that you put in mitigating actions to avoid. Think about it. He put in a 4 year plan to win a trophy. It's a long time to plan son. And requires awesome dedication to keep on the path for 4 years! 

Good stuff to read and learn. Don't think it's worthwhile to put this in your personal statement but the sentiments are valid. 



Ferguson’s Formula


Photography: Sean Pollack

Some call him the greatest coach in history. Before retiring in May 2013, Sir Alex Ferguson spent 26 seasons as the manager of Manchester United, the English football (soccer) club that ranks among the most successful and valuable franchises in sports. During that time the club won 13 English league titles along with 25 other domestic and international trophies—giving him an overall haul nearly double that of the next-most-successful English club manager. And Ferguson was far more than a coach. He played a central role in the United organization, managing not just the first team but the entire club. “Steve Jobs was Apple; Sir Alex Ferguson is Manchester United,” says the club’s former chief executive David Gill.

In 2012 Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse had a unique opportunity to examine Ferguson’s management approach and developed anHBS case study around it. Now she and Ferguson have collaborated on an analysis of his enormously successful methods.

Anita Elberse: Success and staying power like Sir Alex Ferguson’s demand study—and not just by football fans. How did he do it? Can one identify habits that enabled his success and principles that guided it? During what turned out to be his final season in charge, my former student Tom Dye and I conducted a series of in-depth interviews with Ferguson about his leadership methods and watched him in action at United’s training ground and at its famed stadium, Old Trafford, where a nine-foot bronze statue of the former manager now looms outside. We spoke with many of the people Ferguson worked with, from David Gill to the club’s assistant coaches, kit manager, and players. And we observed Ferguson during numerous short meetings and conversations with players and staff members in the hallways, in the cafeteria, on the training pitch, and wherever else the opportunity arose. Ferguson later came to HBS to see the ensuing case study taught, provide his views, and answer students’ questions, resulting in standing-room-only conditions in my classroom and a highly captivating exchange.

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