At face value, football managers and SME owners don’t have much in common. But, as the transfer window slammed shut on September 1, football managers up and down the country were facing the same task as many business owners: getting the new recruits to settle and to perform.
According to Nutbourne’s Marcus Evans the scenario is dictated somewhat by the existing team.
“You can get someone who is an amazing performer, but the rest of the team might not respond well to them. You have a problem there. You try and get them to gel but if you can’t resolve it what is your priority? What decision do you make?
“As a medium sized company, you have a team that buys into the concept of what you are trying to do as an organisation. And then you have one guy that’s amazing at his job but is rubbing them up the wrong way. If the collective numbers suffer enough, and they start to leave or not do as well to the extent that this maverick’s numbers don’t really make a difference – then you have a problem.”
To mitigate this, Nutbourne screens potential candidates on the phone, at interview and with a technical briefing. This means that for every person they employ, around 7 or 8 aren’t successful. This process tends to find the right person.
“They fit the company culture, they come across well and have the passion. Broadly they are technically capable, though we can teach that – whereas we can’t teach passion or personality,” Marcus adds.
The second part of the equation is making sure they fit with the team. This is a bit more ambiguous and bit more difficult, but, says Marcus, if you have done first part well, it shouldn’t be difficult.
“All you have is the people around you. When you are under pressure, you only have them.
“Someone’s personality is most demonstrable to the people they’re with because they are there 40 hours a week – but the knock on effect of having the right people in your business is seen in every part of the company.”
So, what should SME owners, and indeed football managers, be looking out for?
“What you want is a team player, someone that is willing to go the extra mile, not a super star prima donna that doesn’t fit in,” Marcus says.
“You need to have their trust, and they need to have yours. If you can rely on those people and they can rely on you, that’s good for the team and for the company - ultimately it percolates down to the clients who know you will do what you say you will.
“Take your time, do your due diligence in the recruitment stages and you will reap the benefits. And remember that for every Thierry Henry there’s a Mario Balotelli.”