Pep, Come Back to Us Soon! We Think You’re Great!

The news of Pep Guardiola leaving the bench of the Barcelona football team, Barça, has transcended the borders of the football world. Both his persona and professionalism have caught the eye of many who are not football fans.

Those of us in senior management need to analyse in detail the success of the last four seasons Guardiola has had while coaching the Barça team, in order to find transferrable elements, which are applicable to our own organisations. Learning from the experience of others is one of the best mechanisms for progress. 

From my point of view, Pep has displayed immense sporting and football wisdom, as well as having been faithful to the principles and values of the organisation which he represents, and how they connected with their milieu. Right up to the moment he left, he never succumbed to the temptation of putting himself ahead of the organisation for which he worked. He placed all the attention earned and success achieved in the hands of the players themselves who responded unanimously.

Guardiola is a living example of strategic coherence. While with Barça he empowered the players and capitalised on the skills found within the team, as well as expressing a profound respect for his competitors. His legacy goes on to include a unique value proposal, highly attractive to the segment of the lovers of good football, not just those who are solely interested in the results per se; in essence, a style of leadership which encourages team work and, above all, displays passion and out-and-out dedication.

Some would argue that anyone could lead this team. I, however, believe this is not so. Inculcating the values and attitude described above in a group of stars is more difficult to achieve than in another context. I sincerely hope that his example of professionalism inspires a search for original projects in other teams in the league, boosting capacities in each, and every one. 

In the field of business, we ought to emulate the essential traits displayed by Pep. The job of senior managers is to serve the organisation they represent, and not the other way round, fulfilling an obligation to generate the right ambiance of harmony amongst the members thereof, as well ensuring that good relationships are fostered with the milieu outside the organisation. And to Pep, we say what the Catalan singer, Lluis Llach, sang in his honour during the farewell: Que tinguem sort; May we be fortunate.

Sabin Azua

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