Conversations with my daughter about the FA Cup, leadership and life

I was fortunate enough yesterday to go to the 2013 FA Cup Final. As a life long City supporter, I was delighted when an old friend rang me earlier in the week to offer me a spare ticket. City at Wembley. The FA Cup – alive despite the attempts to undermine it by devaluing it constantly (no longer the last game of the season, an all day national event, helicopters following the team buses to the ground….just a 5.15 kick off on a premiership day). Childhood dreams.  A chance to salvage a patchy season. It didn’t quite pan out that way. The team were lacklustre. The fans subdued and constantly singing our Mancini song, given speculation he was about to be sacked. A long damp journey home.

I was washing up some dishes earlier today.

“I’m sorry City didn’t win dad” piped up my daughter, 10.

“Well, you can be the best. Everyone can expect you to win. You should win. It’s just that sometimes you don’t” I replied.

That got me to thinking about leadership. Values. Passion. Commitment. Beverley Almo Metcalfe and Professor Michael West have both done seminal work on these issues. Michael’s blogs for NHS Employers set out the evidence on how Leadership, Clear Values & Objectives and teamwork drive better patient care. Beverley’s work includes some fantastic pieces on engaged models of leadership. Good report here. It shows that “less competent” individuals in well lead mental health teams deliver better outcomes than those who are “more competent” but are lead in ways that don’t engage them.

My view then, is that sport could learn from healthcare (for a change). Martinez lead a “less competent” team who worked without fear but with passion and with a clear objective: to win the Cup. Somehow he engaged his players in ways that made them, that way.  City’s leadership was fundamentally undermined by rumours about Mancini – sufficiently to mean we didn’t win.

Now if sport is going to learn from healthcare, we need to ensure we put in place the findings from Michael’s and Beverley’s research. Because we have some of the most competent people in the world. And I’d like us always to have the best chance of a win. For staff and patients.

Well done to Wigan – you deserved it.

2 thoughts on “Conversations with my daughter about the FA Cup, leadership and life

    • Thanks Alex. There is a case for longevity and consistency – see the improvements at Jonkoping in Sweden as a great example. That’s why there may be hope with GPs – they are often the constant in the ever changing managerial system of the NHS, staying in the same practice for decades…..

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