Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Guardiola way

Y'all remember the del Bosque way?

Barcelona just won the football == soccer UEFA Champions League in the final against Manchester United.  It seems that everyone agrees that Barcelona is the best team in Europe, perhaps in a generation.

Barcelona's manager is Pep Guardiola, he's 40 years old, the youngest manager ever to win this title.

What is his management style?  In the interest of deliberate practice, we take a short pause to guess.  Then (Guardian article):  "impeccable, almost exaggerated politeness", "skills and simplicity", "intelligent", "flexible and resourceful", "he keeps going until he gets it right, no matter what he's doing".

Switch then to Barcelona, the club:
Eight of the team’s leading players are products of its football school, La Masia. That includes Mr Messi, an Argentine who moved to Barcelona as a boy, and the team’s coach, Josep (“Pep”) Guardiola. La Masia is unique among football schools. It is a boarding school that puts as much emphasis on character-training as on footballing skills. The students are relentlessly instructed in the importance of team spirit, self-sacrifice and perseverance. They are also taught that Barça is “more than a club”: it is the embodiment of Catalan pride that kept the region’s spirit alive during the years when Spain groaned under the fascist Franco regime. Fans regularly sport banners proclaiming that “Catalonia is not Spain”
Very simple lessons return from out of the noise; have a simple idea, be disciplined, build a team.  Beyond that, here and in other places, the organization and the leader are explicit about their purpose and their philosophy of work.

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