3 things which business leaders can learn from Sir Alex Ferguson

The announcement earlier this week that Sir Alex Ferguson was due to step down as manager of Manchester United is undoubtedly one of the biggest stories of the sporting year.


But such has been the wider influence of the Glasgow native that figures from outside the sporting world have hailed his achievements this week. Everyone from David Cameron to Alistair Campbell have been effusive in their praise of Ferguson, with some Manchester-based MPs even calling for him to be given a Lordship.


But what, if anything, can those within the business world learn from Ferguson and his stewardship of one of the biggest football clubs in the world during the last 26 years?


Continuity of staff is crucial


Ferguson has gone on record in stating that one of the key elements of the club’s continued success is that several members of his support staff have been in place for much of his time as manager. An SME should always look to take their time with key appointments and then invest in these people to help them grow into the roles and drive the business forward. A group of employees that you can trust implicitly are particularly important for a business which requires restructuring or is struggling in one specific area.


It’s all in the detail


One of the most commonly recurring themes as numerous figures from the world of football have moved to praise Ferguson this past week has been his ferocious attention to detail. This is a key attitude which can be applied to companies of all sizes, but is particularly relevant to SMEs who may be experiencing a difficult financial period. From payroll issues to ensuring that existing staff are being given the chance to thrive, the level of attention which you pay to various details could ultimately define the future success of your business.


Lead from the front


Things have not always gone smoothly throughout Ferguson’s reign and at various stages the manager has been forced to take charge of the situation whether it was completing the transfer of a key target or defending an existing player in public. Remember that as a business leader you are ultimately the key component within the structure of your company and when the time comes to take charge of things, it is critical that you act rapidly and decisively.


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