Throughout our lives, we were told of fairy tales and inspirational stories whereby the underdog battles it out with the strong guys and by some miracle, the underdog triumphs. For businesses, this was probably true when Apple, whom at that time was an underdog and competing against giants such as Nokia shook the mobile network industry with their revolutionary IPhone series. However, it is unlikely that we have personally witness the triumph of an underdog such in the case of Leicester City Football Club. Led by their Italian Manager, Claudio Ranieri, whom at his age should be enjoying retirement, the Club were recently crowned the Barclays Premier League Champions! What’s even more amazing is that this is the same Club whom exactly a year ago, were almost relegated to Division One. The question is, how can businesses look up to Leicester City’s triumph as proof that as underdogs, you can compete against the big guns in your Industry?
1) It All Starts With Passion
Safe to say, all the regular players of Leicester City were not driven by money, fame or trophies. They were driven by passion and really felt apart of the Club. They are truly role models who wear their hearts on their sleeves and every points drop is personal to them. For businesses, how are your employees viewing their daily work? A passionate employee will be more than happy to go above and beyond their job scope for the greater good of the Company.
2) Have Fun
That’s right! Just go out there and have fun! In every match, you can tell that the players were having fun and more importantly, having each other’s back. More importantly, it starts from the top, i.e. their manager whom celebrates every goal and after every match, delivers a positive post-match interview regardless of the result. In an organization, it’s imperative that Top Management models a positive behavior and sets a positive culture within the organization.
3) Ignore the Naysayers
Ever been told that you can’t accomplish something because you are not talented, rich or blessed with good fortune? Clearly Leicester City ignored the naysayers. They would have had every excuse in the world not to win the League. From not having world-class players to not having the experience of winning a trophy to not having a large budget like the big clubs. At the start of the season, the odds of Leicester City winning the League was 5000-1 and you would have had better odds of David Cameron becoming the Aston Villa manager. If Leicester City could accomplish such a remarkable feat, what’s your excuse of not succeeding? Work with what you have, plan ahead and work harder than your competitors.
4) Age is Never a Barrier
At 64 years old, Claudio Ranieri is the oldest manager in the League. However, with age comes valuable experience. After decades in charge of clubs from various countries, he has developed an impressive reservoir of knowledge that can lead the Club to better times. It’s worth paying a closer look to your older employees and developing them to become “coaches” of their departments.
5) Surprises Comes in Different Packages
Star midfielder Ngolo Kante was recruited from a French 2nd Division team and prior to arriving at the Club, was used to playing in front of a few thousand fans. Algerian sensation Riyad Mahrez was overlooked by every youth academy in France until he was 18 years old. Today, those 2 players were the bedrock to Leicester City’s success. For businesses, you don’t need to recruit “A-players” from top notch universities such as Yale, Harvard or Cambridge. With a proper recruitment process and an eye for talent, your company could be on the verge of discovering your own version of Kante and Mahrez. Better yet, they could already be in your company and just need a bit more support to turn them to become star employees.
6) From Zeroes to Heroes
Many of these Leicester City heroes were once labelled as failures by the fans and media. Danny Simpson and Danny Drinkwater were released by Manchester United as youngsters, star keeper Kasper Schmeichel had to drop to play in Division Four after being told by Manchester City that he has no future. Even star striker Jamie Vardy was playing semi-professional football just 4 years ago. This is an important lesson to both businesses and employees. Never believe that failure is final. Keep pushing, keep believing in your abilities, and eventually, your day as a Hero would arrive!