By Helen Beckett, Community Manager
Love him or loathe him, everyone respects Sir Alex Ferguson for his (surely) unbeatable management record in Premier League football. As part of a die-hard Gooner family, the feeling was often of antipathy, especially when it came to canny tactics and baiting-the-opposition mind games of which he was a master.Sir Alex could probably make a fortune on the leadership speaking circuit if he so wished. Being a man of action (sometimes the boot-hurling variety) more than words (and then, often swear words) I doubt somehow whether this rarefied circle will be his next move. It’s still fun to wonder what his advice might be to new CIOs and business leaders however.
Described as a one-eyed monster and a tyrant by adversaries, Fergie’s style and tactics were honed for fierce competition where there could only be one winner. These qualities are not so compatible with a collaborative world where team working and soft skills are highly prized. However it’s worth remembering he struggled in the early years and learnt from his mistakes. Everyone can take something from his winning style of leadership.
So suspend disbelief for a moment and play these words from Sir Alex to CIOs in your head – in a Glaswegian brogue, if you can.
- Know everything there is to know – not only about your own team but your opponents’, both in the boardroom and the wider organisation. Mastering the detail is everything in knowing how to play your hand.
- Believe in your mission, and expect your team to do the same. This will infuse a winning spirit where the sum is far greater than all the parts.
- Be generous and share your knowledge with younger managers and colleagues making their way. This won’t diminish your power – but will extend your authority.
- Don’t forget to sit down with your peers over a glass of fine red wine from time to time. It’s good to know the enemy – and you may need to share information or call favours at some point in your career.
If anyone else has any ‘Fergie tips’ for CIOs please pass them on.
Helen Beckett is the Community Manager of the Business Value Exchange. She has been a writer and editor for over 20 years and takes a particular interest in the challenges facing the CIO in today’s business climate.