With the sacking of Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, just one season after he’d won the Premier Leagues, looks like a clear case of results matter.
Ok, you won last season, but what have you done for me lately.
In sport, just as in business, it tends to be all about the bottom line results, and on the record of Chelsea this season it looks clear why Chelsea made the decision they did.
However, I suspect that it wasn’t just the results, it was more the manner of the results that caused Jose to lose his job.
Many teams go on a runs of bad results, and this could be because of a big injury crisis, bad luck or even a temporary loss of form.
But with Chelsea it was more than that, there seemed to be an air of unhappiness, a lack of enjoyment, a lack of commitment from the players and as well as some bad luck with injuries and decisions.
Mourinho is a manager who has achieved great results. He has won the highest award in 4 different countries Portugal, England, Italy and Spain and has won the Champions League on a couple of occasions, he has won as many trophies as any other manager in the last 10 years.
But there seems to be a big problem. His successes which are impressive, are always short lived. He seems to be able to achieve amazing results, but then after three years things start to go wrong, badly wrong.
He seems to be a master of short term success, but long term sustained success, and the ability to leave a lasting legacy seems beyond him.
This is what will ultimately determine how highly he ranks against other great managers such as Sir Alex Ferguson who managed one club for over 25 years and won the Premier League Championship 13 times which helped him to create a lasting legacy, amongst others such as Pep Guardiola, Marcello Lippi, Jock Stein, etc. etc..
Short term results are difficult to achieve, it really does take great skill and experience, but they are not always sustainable. The same methods used make an immediate difference in the long term they can become ineffective, or leave the situation worse than before.
Short term results can be achieved through a drastic change of process or approach, by instilling fear, creating a siege mentality, getting teams to put in an extraordinary effort, through bullying, cajoling, rewarding, there are many short term tricks that can be used.
But sustainable results are all based around people, getting people to buy-in to what you are doing, getting people to see the vision and to get on the bus with you. To do that you need to make it all about them, the team and not about the leader.
This is where Mourinho seems to fall down, because ultimately it’s all about him, his success and it looks like it’s this arrogance that then becomes an issue with his own players.
Yes, there are some who are fanatically loyal to him, but there are others who seem to tire of his approach, his self aggrandisement, his different treatment of players which then creates divisions within the dressing room. When teamwork falls down then teams fall down, it doesn’t really matter how good individual players are, or even the managers tactics.
In some of the most recent games that I saw, versus Bournemouth and Leicester, it was clear that not all the players were putting in 100%, Chelsea were outfought in many areas of the pitch, something that is extremely unusual for Mourinho teams, it was staggering.
Mourinho seemed powerless to be able to make the changes needed, and in my option this is because he is a tactical genius, but here the issue wasn’t about the right, wrong or using different tactics, it was about the players commitment, and that’s based on leadership.
It didn’t look like they wanted to play for Mourinho anymore, which is something altogether more difficult to fix, and from his demeanour it looked like he knew it too. His big bag of tricks didn’t include a solution to the ailments of his team.
He himself seemed unhappy, and disinterested, lacking in excitement and enthusiasm, and its difficult to install that in your team when you’re not feeling it yourself.
As leaders we need to be conscious of what we are trying to achieve when we join companies, take over new departments, are we looking for short term success or creating lasting sustainable success.
In my opinion it needs to be the latter, because eventually your reputation will proceed you, and much like Mourinho now, it will be clear that there will be short term success, but then there will be a mess that needs to be cleared up after.
Whilst that might work for some companies, the larger, more respectable companies will be looking for long term sustainable success and won’t consider you.
If you want to achieve sustainable results then it has to be all about the people rather than the leader.