Leadership Lessons – Wenger

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Arsene Wenger has managed Arsenal for fourteen years straight. Indeed, Sir Alex Ferguson is the only manager to have spent longer at his current club. So how can you emulate the staying power of the man they call ‘Le Professor’?

1. Make your name synonymous with your brand.

” …Now it is Wenger who defines Arsenal. He immediately replaced the card schools and liquid lunches with dieticians and acupuncturists, bringing a continental outlook to the club and developing a free-flowing, attacking style of play. Fans under twenty-years-old haven’t known the club without him, and his association with the Arsenal brand is so strong that even a distinct lack of recent success hasn’t threatened to sever it. If you can achieve that level of personal identification with a brand – think Sir Stuart Rose and M&S, O’Leary with Ryanair – your position will be similarly unshakeable.”

2. A beautiful game is less important than a beautiful balance sheet.

” …And as long as Wenger continues to get the team into the Champions League, he’ll be richly rewarded. With an estimated annual salary of €9m, ‘Le Boss’ currently takes home a higher salary than Sir Alex Ferguson (€8.5m). The latter, it’s worth pointing out, has won four league titles, three league cups and a Champions League since Arsenal’s FA Cup victory on penalties against Manchester United in 2005. It goes to show that shareholders are generally less worried about competitors’ successes if their own bank balance is firmly in the black.”

3. Invest in youth, but don’t expect loyalty.

” …Sadly, while harnessing young talent and launching fledgling careers is satisfying and can be profitable, you must be hard-nosed and recognise that team members will move on.”

4. It’s great to have a philosophy, but don’t stick to it too rigidly.

“…You can’t assume that a certain strategy which brings rewards for a while will remain effective forever. Arsenal’s consistent financial prudence is different – their spending power has been hampered by the huge expense of building the Emirates Stadium, thanks to a few less-than-lucrative commercial deals. It is also partially an attempt to future-proof the club against Uefa’s planned Financial Fair Play directive, under which clubs will face strict penalties if they fail to control their debts. If FFP were to be brought in tomorrow, Arsenal would pass with ease while their rivals would struggle to hide the liabilities loading down their ledgers. Sadly there’s no guarantee that said rivals wouldn’t find a loophole to worm their way through, but if the FFP arrives bearing teeth then Arsenal’s financial strategy will look very smart indeed.

Wenger’s work to get the club into that position is why he’s one of the only football managers you’d trust to run an actual business. Few of his peers could’ve kept a team so near the top of the Premier League while financing a huge new stadium, and for that he deserves credit. However, just as some Gunners have misgivings about their football club being run like a business, you’d generally be wise to avoid running your business like a football club. No one wants a Glasgow Rangers on their hands after all.”

5. Delegation is not a sign of weakness

“…Wenger is sometimes painted as an inflexible control freak and perhaps a part of it is simply an effort to keep his job secure – the more he does himself, the harder it is for one man to replace him. Other staff being credited for on-field triumphs could also be viewed as a threat. Still, MT would advise against autocracy. ‘Always employ people who are smarter than you,’ goes the old adage. Not only does this strategy reap greater rewards in the long run, but AGMs will be a whole lot less volatile too…”

Read the entire article on the Management Today website “Five leadership lessons from Arsene Wenger”

You can also read “ Leadership Lessons – Sir Alex Ferguson” on our website.

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  1. Leadership Lessons – Sir Alex Ferguson | TOKNOWTHEGAME.COM - October 31, 2012

    […] you can also read Leadership Lessons – Arsene Wenger on our […]

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