They were tipped as relegation candidates at the start of the season back in August 2015, but Leicester City went on to win the Premier League for the first time in their 132-year history this month.
What happened at Leicester City isn’t unique to any one business or set of circumstances of a sector – its common place. It’s all about performance improvement, and it can work for your business too. Here’s how:
Give your staff the opportunity to shine
The best talent for your organisation isn’t the most expensive talent or the biggest names. Compared to some other Premiership teams Leicester City doesn’t have an expensive squad, in fact, The Foxes squad was assembled for around £57m. What they do have are players that are perfect for the team.
Leicester City’s playing style is that of a tough, counter-attacking side and in Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez they have two of the strongest attackers in the Premiership, and they build strength from within.
Claudio Ranieri played to his players’ strength and encouraged them to believe in themselves, when everyone else doubted them.
Put the right managers and leaders in place
As The Foxes discovered, having the right manager in place is critical. All organisations need managers and leaders who can forge a strong team spirit, keeps their promises, raises expectations and inspires their team to work hard to achieve goals. Get the wrong manager in and it can have the opposite effect.
Reward staff with the right incentives
Leicester City was a team that didn’t keep a clean sheet in their first 11 games of the 2015-2016 season, so Claudio Ranieri promised his players a night out at a pizzeria when they achieved a clean sheet. A night out at a pizzeria might seem and underwhelming gift for footballers who earn thousands, if not millions, but it was the thoughtfulness of Ranieri’s gift that motivated his players and created a strong team spirit.
Businesses need to consider their employees and offer them thoughtful rewards and incentives, as a small thoughtful gift can be much more motivating than a larger generic prize.
Create the right culture
The celebrations after they won the Premiership title showed what a strong team spirit and culture Leicester City had. During the season they strove for the impossible dream, and businesses need to do the same by giving their employees a vision and a mission to strive for.
Claudio Ranieri also created stability and gave his players a sense of security by not constantly changing the squad, a different tactic to his days at Chelsea where he was known as the ‘Tinkerman’.
Leicester City also showed that it’s possible to have fun. It’s extensively reported that Ranieri would make the sound of a bell when he felt his players weren’t paying attention in training. However, as a light-hearted goodwill gesture, Ranieri bought the entire squad a miniature bell each at Christmas.
Remember your employees have friends and family
Spending time with friends and family can help relieve the pressures and stress work causes, and helps employees achieve a work-life balance that suits them as individuals.
In March when the pressure and expectation to win the league was building, Ranieri allowed his players a week off in which they could travel anywhere they wanted. It’s an unheard-of luxury in the middle of the season but because the players were so motivated they didn’t abuse this goodwill gesture and so stayed in peak form for their return.
And as for Ranieri himself, he flew to Rome to have lunch with his mother Renata on her 96th birthday even though the Premier League title remained in the balance.