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Fergie's leadership lessons

Monday, May 20, 2013 - 02:38

May 20 - Alex Ferguson's success at Manchester United recently made him the subject of a case study at Harvard Business School. But does his leadership style work in the real world? Ivor Bennett reports

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They may not be Manchester United but this is a team that could benefit more than most from Alex Ferguson's expertise. It's the London Business School football club - a team of budding entrepreneurs and future CEOs. It's not just sport that idolises Ferguson's approach - the Harvard Business School used him as a recent case study. Strategy expert Julian Birkenshaw explains the appeal. SOUNDBITE (English) JULIAN BIRKENSHAW, PROFESSOR OF STRATEGY AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP, LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL, SAYING: "First of all sport is big business. Sport is a very, very commercial activity. And secondly sport is all about team work. It's all about a group of people coming together and achieving more than they could as individuals." SOUNDBITE (English) IVOR BENNETT, REUTERS REPORTER, SAYING: "Ferguson's record speaks for itself. 26 years at Manchester United, 38 trophies. But what are the key points of his legendary leadership? And do they work in the real world?" SOUNDBITE (English) GERARDO MORENO, GOALKEEPER, LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL FOOTBALL CLUB, SAYING: "Hi I'm Gerardo Moreno. I'm the goalkeeper of London Business School....He was never hiring big players like Real Madrid is doing for instance. He always hired youngsters, developed them. and that's the long term view you need in life, business and everything." SOUNDBITE (English) REUTERS REPORTER IVOR BENNETT, SAYING: "How possible is that thought given pressure from shareholders for instant success in the business world?" SOUNDBITE (English) GERARDO MORENO, GOALKEEPER, LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL FOOTBALL CLUB, SAYING: "I think it's difficult in the beginning...but once you get your first championship, or once you get your first IPO if you're in a business,. and you start showing the results I think you get all the backup you need and you get buy-in for your long term project" SOUNDBITE (English) ADRIAN MORRISON, PRESIDENT, LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL FOOTBALL CLUB, SAYING: "Hi, I'm Adrian Morrison, I'm the President of the London Business School Football Club...he never let one player become bigger than the team. I think it's definitely transferable. No matter how talented an individual is. If their influence ends up disrupting the team then you're probably better off without them. SOUNDBITE (English) REUTERS REPORTER IVOR BENNETT, SAYING: "What about Ferguson's famous temper? Would the hair-dryer treatment work in the business world?" SOUNDBITE (English) GERARDO MORENO, GOALKEEPER, LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL FOOTBALL CLUB, SAYING: "I think you need to be flexible. I think sometimes you do need to be scary and temperable, and actually make people respect you. But behind the scenes you need to be the friend of your players and employees." SOUNDBITE (English) REUTERS REPORTER IVOR BENNETT, SAYING: "What do you think Adrian? Would the hair-dryer treatment work in the boardroom?" SOUNDBITE (English) ADRIAN MORRISON, PRESIDENT, LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL FOOTBALL CLUB, SAYING: "In the boardroom probably not. But in think there's a time and a place for it in business. You probably want to use it as a last resort but it definitely doesn't work with our players." So his style's not everyone's cup of tea. But when it comes to finding a winning formula, there aren't many who can match Ferguson...both in sport and business.

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Fergie's leadership lessons

Monday, May 20, 2013 - 02:38