Pep Talk: Using the Guardiola Approach to Leadership & Business Success

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I am a football fan and I closely  follow this sport, especially the English Premiership and other international tournaments. Watching football is one of my past time interests. It is not a secret that this sport has a huge following and it has become highly commercialised and competitive. With this, the sport is now run in a business like manner where the coaches, supporting staff, team medics/physios, scouts and players etc all work together to achieve the same goal of winning.

To be successful as a football team, there is need for team work, research and development, efficiency, enjoyment, hard work and consistent style and methodology. In other words, there is need for leadership with know how of the winning formula: trusting of a system.

Football is no longer a matter of just kicking the ball and running. Good coaches have now added a lot of detailed intricacies (e.g statistics, diet, exercise regimes, lifestyle etc) to how they coach their teams and how they want their teams to play exciting football for their fans.

Pep Guardiola is one such coach who has impressed with his superior coaching abilities which have earned him accolades as one of the finest in football. He is highly respected and sought after because of his excellent track record. Good leaders have traceable records and are allergic to failure. 

Pep Guardiola has won lots of trophies/titles with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now with Manchester City.

The point of this blog is to highlight his leadership, vision and mindset. Having grown up under the football inspiration of the late Johan Cruyff's 'total football' philosophy, Pep has been a faithful student of those footballing principles. Good leaders live on their convictions and beliefs. They trust their system even when it appears to be not working. For example, in his first season at Manchester City he didn't win any trophy, yet he stuck to his footballing philosophy.  However, in this second season, his team has been playing some scintillating football, owing to his attacking philosophy. 

I was inspired to write this blog while watching a football match between Man City and Arsenal, and after the match, one of the commentators Thiery Henry who has previously been coached by Pep disclosed some details pertaining to Pep's vision and leadership which interested me.

Henry said,

Pep demands 100 % in training, he won't accept 99.9%

I learned how to play football again at 30 years old. Even after the success I had with previous teams and even at international level, I suddenly saw the game in a different way understanding space, understanding staying in your position and understanding you have to give 100%.

His attention to detail is second to none.

Tactically, he could employ a slight positional change that could hugely affect the game in a positive way.

He could change a tactic,sometimes five times in one half.

If I say meet me in London and I don't give you the address (that will be hard) but Pep gives you the GPS, address, the car and everything.

Lessons above are quite valuable to anyone who is a leader and an entreprenuer. In my digital business, whereby I do internet marketing I can see myself doing like Pep in that I sometimes change tactics which don't work. That is part of the integrity of taking ownership for your destiny.However, it's important to enjoy the journey for your success by staying true to your convictions and beliefs.


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